The homes in Newton Aycliffe will be offered to first-time buyers at 30 per cent off full market value under the scheme.
The local authority will set a local connection test to determine which potential buyers are prioritised for the scheme, based on the needs of the community.
The government has already outlined various eligibility criteria, including a cap on the income of buyers and the 30 per cent discount as a minimum. The discount is passed forward to the next first-time buyer.
The aim of First Homes is to let families and key workers such as NHS staff and forces veterans afford to purchase homes in the communities where they live and work.
The First Homes pilot scheme saw a funding pot of £150m open earlier this month to bids from developers offering homes under the banner.
The pilot is targeting delivery of 1,500 homes by 2023, of which today’s count for a piece.
The latest 12 homes form part of Elder Gardens development by Keepmoat Homes (pictured).
Tim Beale, chief executive at the developer, said: “Working in partnership with government, Homes England and Durham County Council, we are delighted to launch the First Homes scheme at our Elder Gardens development.”
The launch marked what was described by government as an “early delivery project” within First Homes, following on from those in Bolsover, Derbyshire, and Cannock, Staffs, since June.
The wider aim for First Homes is to deliver 60,000 homes by 2029-30.
The scheme itself forms part of the government’s overall commitment on housing, which is to increase delivery of homes to a level of 300,000 a year.
Robert Jenrick, housing minister, who was in Newton Aycliffe for today’s launch, said: “It’s fantastic to see First Homes become available to local people in the North East. The chance to buy a home at 30 per cent discount is giving local people, families and key workers a route into home ownership where they already live.”
Lenders offering 95 per cent mortgages on First Home properties include Lloyds, Nationwide, Halifax, Chorley Building Society, Darlington BS, Leeds BS, Mansfield BS and the Newcastle.