Liverpool City Council has set up a new housing company with the aim of building and renovating 10,000 homes over the next 10 years.
The new organisation, called Foundations, aims to get residents onto the housing ladder via a £1bn investment programme.
The Rent to Buy scheme would allow people to pay reduced rent on Foundations properties, so they can save enough money for a deposit to buy the home they are renting.
Foundations also intends to ensure local business get to play a role in constructing new homes.
The company is the idea of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who wants to use Foundations to improve the city’s housing, revolutionise the Rent to Buy sector, drive up council tax receipts for the council and stimulate growth.
Anderson said: “We recognise that getting the cash together for a deposit can be a major challenge for many first-time buyers so the new Rent to Buy scheme will play an invaluable part in addressing this problem.
“I have also asked the Foundations team to explore other financial incentives and by the time homes are available to buy in 2019 there will be an opportunity for some of those, assessed on a per scheme basis, to be available Rent to Buy or through an alternative incentive.”
Liverpool City Council is the sole shareholder of Foundations, which, aside from helping people onto the property ladder, will also be building homes for specific groups – including foster carers, large families, the elderly and disabled people.
Foundations’ chair Frank Hont said: “Our ambition for Foundations will be to transform the way housing works for the people of Liverpool. One of the ways we want to achieve this is by giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to get on to the housing ladder who may struggle to otherwise secure a conventional mortgage.
“Our intention is that the money from both house sales and rents will then be reinvested back into the Foundations programme to help create even more homes and support more people in our city as they take the first step on to the housing ladder.”
The council has established procurement frameworks to maximise the involvement of local contractors in delivering council contracts, including on Foundations projects.
Foundations chief executive Mark Kitts said: “Foundations is identifying a range of sites in various ownerships across the city, within neighbourhoods, the city centre and waterfront as potential sites for redevelopment.
“Foundations will be committed to delivering training and skills opportunities for young people in the city. We’ll be working with contractors who will be encouraged to use local supply chains and locally-sourced labour.
“In addition, we’ll work with providers such as higher education colleges to deliver on-the-job training, including apprenticeships for young people who want to forge a career in the construction industry.
“Foundations is also keen to work with landowners who share our ethical ambitions.”
The potential billion-pound programme is seen as fundamental to addressing the city’s aim of building 30,000 new homes by 2030.
The scheme is expected to officially launch next year.