Right to Buy homes re-sold since 2000 made £6.4bn in profit

Published March 14, 2019

In March 2019 the BBC Shared Data Unit reported on the impact of the Right to Buy policy under which former social housing tenants were allowed to buy their home at a discount, the size of which depended how long they had lived there.

We sourced and analysed data from HM Land Registry, the Registers of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Data for 92,000 sales was published in Freedom of Information responses.

The investigation found homes in Britain bought under the scheme had been sold on for £6.4bn in collective profit since 2000.

In England and Wales

  • Between 2000 and 2018, some 53,000 homeowners made £5bn in profit, or £4.3bn in real terms. Around one in 20 made a loss in real terms.
  • The average time people kept their RtB home before selling it on was seven-and-a-half years
  • 139 ex-council tenants in Great Britain bought and resold their homes within one month, creating a £2.8m collective profit

In Scotland

  • Homeowners from 39,000 sales we analysed made £2.3bn in profit or £2.05bn in real terms. Some one in 50 sellers made a real terms loss
  • The average time someone kept their RtB home before selling it on was around five years and eight months
  • Seventeen people bought and sold their RtB house within one week, three of those did so on the same day - one at a £60,700 mark-up

In Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland does not record sales prices. Between 1982 and 2018, some 120,950 former social homes were sold including 500 homes with five or more bedrooms

Opponents of the scheme said too many people had profited from a policy that had "much bigger social ambitions", and it had led to a reduction in social housing stock.

Supporters said Right to Buy had allowed people the chance to climb the housing ladder and secure their families' financial future.

The Shared Data Unit makes data journalism available to news organisations across the media industry, as part of a partnership between the BBC and the News Media Association. Stories generated by the partnership included:

Non-partner coverage:

The story was also used by the BBC News Channel, Midlands Today, BBC Radio London, BBC Good Morning Ulster, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Somerset, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Kent, BBC WM

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