Tenants of Merville Garden Village, Fernagh and Abbots Cross were to be given the opportunity to buy their homes for £2,000 in April 1979.
Negotiations had been taking place between the DoE and South Antrim Housing Association.
Erskine Holmes, director of the Housing Federation, said: “It would be possible for every tenant in the Ulster Garden Villages to be an owner occupier for just £2,000.”
However, he said that some people were either too elderly or receiving social security and may not be able to get a mortgage,
Previously, tenants had been expected to repair and maintain properties for a minimal rent.