Tomorrow’s Autumn Budget sees growing speculation that the Chancellor could announce measures to help first-time buyers, as well as plans to build more houses.
Until the Budget is announced, however, it’s important to remember that no-one knows for certain – with the exception of the Chancellor – exactly which changes definitely will be introduced and which won’t.
Here, we look at some of the measures which potentially could be announced, and what impact they could have on homebuyers and owners.
A report by the Adam Smith Institute has called for the Chancellor to scrap stamp duty, labelling it “the worst tax we’ve got”. Stamp duty cost British people £12bn last year alone, with the Institute claiming that it stops larger homes being sold to new families and creates a “roadblock” to people moving from one part of the country to another to find work.
Some media reports have suggested that the Chancellor may be considering a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers only, which could be introduced for a temporary period, to help those trying to get onto the property ladder. Stamp duty can be a major hurdle for first-time buyers, particularly those buying in the capital and South East, where property prices are highest.
Others, however, have speculated that older retired homeowners could be granted a stamp duty exemption to encourage them to downsize and free up family homes.
The Prime Minister Theresa May said in her Conservative conference speech in September that she wanted to make housebuilding part of the “personal mission”, and pledged an extra £2bn for affordable housing. This brings the government’s affordable housing budget to £9bn, which both housing associations and councils can bid for.
This week saw growing calls for the Government to build new homes and towns across England to meet ever-increasing demand. The National Infrastructure Commission, backed by the government, said it wants to see the rate of housebuilding to double across part of central England, which would result in a million new homes.
It is calling for new towns to be built between Oxford and Milton Keynes, and Cambridge and Bedford, ranging in size from 10,000 homes up to 150,000 homes.
According to reports in The Times newspaper, the Chancellor has been seeking reforms to Britain’s greenbelt land, so that it could potentially be used for house-building. However, many people support the protection of greenbelt areas and are against new properties being built there.
There is also pressure on the Chancellor to relax planning laws. Earlier this week, for example, housing associations called for urban property owners to be allowed to build up to the height of the tallest buildings in the same block without needing planning permission.
Help to Buy
The Prime Minister promised at the Conservative Party Conference that the government would find an additional £10bn for the Help to Buy scheme, to help 135,000 people get on the property ladder.
The Help to Buy scheme enables those with only a small deposit to buy a new build home worth up to £600,000, with the help of a 20% equity loan from the government (40% in London). The loan, which is interest-free for the first five years, must be repaid either when the property is sold or when the mortgage is paid off.
What the Budget could mean for the property market