RESIDENTS who bought their former council houses in York and then sold them on made an average profit of £46,500.

Under the government’s Right to Buy scheme, introduced in 1980, tenants who have lived in their council home are offered the opportunity to buy it at a discounted rate. The discount can be up to a maximum of 70% – or £80,900 – depending on circumstances.

In York, one resident bought their ex-council home and sold it within seven days. And another homeowner made a profit of £209,072 by buying their former council house at a discount and then selling it on.

But a spokesman for The Chartered Institute of Housing says the policy has hit the country’s stock of social housing and should be suspended.

They said many former council homes are now in the private rental sector and added: “Not only are we failing to build enough homes for social rent – right to buy means we are losing them at a time when millions of people need genuinely affordable housing more than ever.”

And Paul Dossett, from financial firm Grant Thornton UK, said the scheme has been a “disaster” for taxpayers who get less value for money from the sale of taxpayer-funded homes and also have to fund an increase in housing benefits where the policy results in a hike in rents.

But Minister of State for Housing Kit Malthouse MP said: “Under Right to Buy, the government has helped nearly two million people achieve their dream of home ownership and we are working hard to make sure that everyone in the country who wants it has a shot at getting on the housing ladder.

"Tenants who use Right to Buy must repay some of their discount back to their council if they sell the property within the first five years, and must offer their local authority the opportunity to buy it back.”