Predicting what the Budget will bring for the UK housing market

14NOV

Predicting what the Budget will bring for the UK housing market

Tue 14 Nov 2017 by Frances Traynor

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his autumn Budget to Parliament on Wednesday, November 22. There have already been calls for him to reform stamp duty to help both first-time buyers and older home owners looking to downsize.

But what other areas of the housing and property market could be affected by the contents of the Chancellor's famous red box?

We take a look at the predictions made so far.

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Stamp duty reform

The HomeOwners Alliance is among a number of influential voices calling for reform of Land Duty Tax, or stamp duty as it's better known. It has made eight recommendations for changing the way stamp duty is levied, including raising the thresholds annually in line with house prices and ensuring the exemption currently sitting at £125,000 is always above the average price of a house.

Backers of reform say cutting or altering stamp duty by, for example, exempting first-time buyers or older owner occupiers, will increase mobility and make it easier for those living in larger properties to downsize. With stamp duty bringing in around £9 billion annually for the Treasury, can the Chancellor afford to cut that revenue? More importantly for fixing the housing market, can he afford not to?

Relax planning laws

Housing providers, including housing associations and builders, want the Chancellor to relax England's planning laws to make it easier to get permission to start construction and also to change the sort of properties being built.

A number of influential housing associations are backing the "build up, not out" plan that would allow developers to build a new generation of high-rises properties. The plan wants to make it possible for new-build properties to match the height of the highest building in the area or the height of surrounding trees. This would be particularly helpful in cities such as London where land is at a premium.

Investment in the construction industry

The construction industry has been vocal in its desire for more radical help to increase the amount of houses built every year. Hints from the Treasury suggest there will be greater investment in vocational training skills to provide a new generation of bricklayers, joiners, electricians and other skilled workers that the industry currently lacks.

Other proposals include offering tax relief on innovative housing such as modular homes that increase the supply of homes for sale.

Allow councils to borrow to build

The lack of affordable homes to rent or buy across the UK has a number of causes, but the Government's refusal to let local councils borrow to build properties in their area has exacerbated the problem.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants the Chancellor to lift that decades-old ban and let councils borrow to build. In London alone, 50,000 homes are needed every year for the next decade.

We will find out in just seven days what the Chancellor has up his sleeve for the UK housing market.

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