Outsiders will not be able to purchase new homes built within certain areas of the New Forest in Hampshire, if a council policy goes ahead.
The New Forest District Council is considering introducing a planning policy, which will mean only local residents will be able to buy newly-built houses.
Residents will need to have lived in the area for at least seven years, have a permanent job, or have family who have been resident in the New Forest for seven years in order to purchase a property.
However, Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy, chairman of the National Association of Estate Agents, believes the policy could restrict development.
He said: ‘You can recognise the motives behind it as there is pressure to find affordable housing for local people, however restricting buyers can have the effect of making development uneconomical ‘ it may also reduce development. People may decide not to sell if the value of their home is not as much as it could be in an open market.’
The Council will discuss the second stage of the plan in April, which will include whether or not areas of newly built houses will remain exclusively for local residents when re-sold.
Louise Evans, project leader in the policy and planing team at the New Forest District Council, said: ‘Where new housing is being built, planning conditions will be put on houses so they can only be occupied by people who have the need to live in the New Forest for family or employment reasons. There is a problem of local people not being able to afford houses in the New Forest ‘ locals have been priced out of the market.’
Evans added that the constraints will only affect a small percentage of people, as they will only apply to newly built houses, rather than existing properties.
However, David Bitner, mortgage technical manager at Bradford & Bingley, said the initiative could prompt lenders to restrict their lending levels as a result.
He said: ‘Local authorities need to consider the effect on local people being able to get mortgages. As the local authorities place restrictions, the market will be reduced. Lenders probably would not lend at 95% LTV if the property could only be re-sold to a local.’
But Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at Charcol, said the restrictions should not pose too many problems, providing there is enough local demand for the properties.
He said: ‘The lender will look at the re-sale value of the property in case of repossession. If the people who can buy a property are limited then this will affect the re-sale value of the property. However, if there are plenty of locals then it should not be too badly affected.’