The Chancellor unveiled a raft of new property measures today, including a further £500m for the housing infrastructure fund and stamp duty relief for first-time buyers that is extended to shared ownership homes worth up to £500,000.
The government will also extend a revised version of its Help to Buy scheme until 2023, but for first-time buyers only.
Funding to empower up to 500 neighbourhoods to allocate or permission land for housing for sale at a discount to local people was also announced, as well as £1bn from the British Business Bank for SME builders.
The news follows on from several housing announcements unveiled over the summer by Theresa May, who has ramped up efforts to take control of the domestic agenda in recent months.
At party conference late last month the Prime Minister unveiled a planned stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers of UK properties, which was followed by a decision to lift the borrowing cap on local councils to fund new developments.
May told an audience of activists in Birmingham that solving the housing crisis is the “biggest domestic policy challenge of our generation”.
How the industry reacted
- Helen Morrissey, spokesperson at Royal London said: “While the extension of this stamp duty relief will help first time buyers to get a step on the housing ladder we would argue that more can be done to make the housing market more liquid. While first time buyers can buy a home what of those further up the ladder who cannot afford to either move to a larger home to accommodate their growing families or those looking to downsize. We would urge the government to look at reliefs for those further up the housing ladder if we really want to free up the housing market.”
- Dexters founder and chairman Jeff Doble said: “Investment in housing is always welcome and I was pleased to see another £500 million investment in the housing infrastructure fund announced today. However I feel the planning system remains the main barrier to housebuilding. In its current form, the planning process, rules and tariffs almost certainly prevent the government getting anywhere near its ambitious targets.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: ‘The most disappointing aspect of this budget is that nothing has been done to improve low transaction levels, which is not just bad for the property market but even worse for the wider economy. Given the rapid expansion of the private rented sector over the past few years, more support to Generation Rent would also have been welcome, such as sales of rental property to long-term tenants. It is also disappointing that there was no comment on extending Help to Buy or further detail on how the government will meet its 300,000 a year housebuilding target.