As the Oracle team gathered round the TV in the boardroom yesterday (Wednesday 22nd November) with notepads, iPads to tweet from and biscuits in hand, we were eager to find out whether the predictions of the chancellor of the Exchequer, MP Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget were to become reality.
As predicted, the housing market was firmly under the spotlight towards the end of the Chancellor’s speech, as he announced that the Government is fully committed to the goal of making the “dream of home ownership a reality for all generations.”
Hammond confirmed £44 billion funding and loans to deliver 300,000 new homes a year for the next five years and announced an extra £2.7bn to housing infrastructure development, prioritising urban regeneration schemes. On needing the workforce to deliver these homes, he stated: “We are also providing an additional £34m to develop construction skills across the country.” Responsible for providing reactive comment to the media on behalf of our clients, including property developers, housing associations and suppliers, we seized the opportunity to comment and welcome these pledges to the sector.
Hammond continued: “We will focus on the urban areas where people want to live and where most jobs are created. In particular, building high quality, high density homes in city centres and around transport hubs. And to put the needs of our young people first, we will ensure that councils in high demand areas permit more homes for local first time buyers and affordable renters.”
Hammond also emphasized the very promising news for the already extremely popular Help to Buy scheme: “We’ve made a start with schemes like Help to Buy, which has helped over 320,000 people buy a home. We have put £10 billion more money into Help to Buy equity loan to help those saving for a deposit.”
Hammond went on to state: “But I want to do more still,” delivering perhaps the most anticipated announcement of all. “With effect from today, for all first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000, I am abolishing stamp duty altogether. To ensure that this relief also helps first time buyers in very high price areas like London, it will also be available on the first £300,000 of the purchase price of properties up to £500,000. Meaning an effective reduction of £5,000. A stamp duty cut for 95% of all first-time buyers who pay stamp duty. And no stamp duty at all for 80% of first time buyers from today.”
As the finer details of the Chancellor’s proposals become clearer in due course, it will be interesting to see what effect the stamp duty reform may have on the affordable housing market, including Shared Ownership buyers. Hopefully, these pledges will generate the start of a renewed confidence for the UK housing market and we look forward to finding out how they will be put into fruition.
By Shannen Bulley, PR Senior Account Executive