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New investments welcomed by HCA

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has welcomed a range of new investments that are being made in its services in a bid to boost the UK housing and construction sectors.

A £280 million investment in the government's FirstBuy scheme has been announced to extend the scheme for a further two years from 2014, providing a boost to the number of first time buyers entering the market.

Meanwhile, the HCA will also examine new methods for maximising its investments in the future. Proposals to this end include a new £10 billion government guarantee scheme aimed at the promotion and support of new affordable and private rented housing across the country.

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the HCA, said: "[The] government has shown its commitment to housing and development as a major route to driving economic growth. And I welcome the confidence ministers have shown in the HCA's ability to deliver their key initiatives, supported by new investment."

Other initiatives set out by the HCA to maximise future investment opportunities and aid the government in its bid to tackle the ongoing housing crisis include a £300 million plan to create an additional 15,000 affordable homes, while a new appeals process to mediate disputes between local authorities and developers regarding potential new projects is to be introduced.

Last month, the HCA published in-depth statistics regarding social housing in England.

The department's data revealed a 2.4 per cent increase in the number of homes owned by social housing providers last year, as well as a reduction in the number of vacant properties from 1.5 to 1.4 per cent.

Jonathan Walters, deputy director of regulatory operations at the HCA, said: "These data have been published as an important contribution to the regulator's role in helping providers and others to increase understanding of the sector-wide context within which they operate." 

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