First-time buyers will be able to rent homes cheaply while they scramble to raise enough money to buy them, as part of a package of government measures to stimulate the housing market.

Caroline Flint, housing minister, said yesterday the measures would help people facing difficulties. But housing industry bodies criticised the proposals as “cosmetic”.

The 'rent now, buy later' scheme will be available to first-time buyers with a household income of less than £60,000. They will be able to rent a house for 80% of rental market value over a period of up to three years, to buy them time to save for a deposit to purchase a share in the home. The government also indicated it would commit more money to buy unsold stock from housebuilders for affordable homes.

Financial Times, The Guardian