Body to reduce 13 “homebuy agents” to one single operator

The Homes and Communities Agency is set to tender for a single housing association or developer to market homes built for low-cost sale to the public.

The HCA launched a consultation yesterday on plans to consolidate the current system of 13 “homebuy agents” across the country into a single body by April next year.

The HCA said the move would provide greater clarity to potential customers while reducing administration costs, and comes as the amount of funding for affordable home ownership properties has been slashed by the government.

Previously all of the 13 agents have been either housing associations or councils, but the HCA explicitly said the new operator could be a “private organisation,” paving the way for developers or housebuilders to run the service.

The consultation also follows last week’s admission the body is consulting staff on reducing its 1,000 employees by up to a third as part of its cost-cutting drive. In total the agency has been tasked by government with cutting its running costs by 50%.