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In an Autumn Budget much anticipated by the property industry, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond has given very little in the way of help.
The hoped-for announcements of waiving Capital Gains Tax for landlords who sell to first time buyer tenants, and also tax breaks and incentives for landlords who offer longer-term tenancies and various cuts to stamp duty have failed to materialise in the Autumn Budget.
Instead, token gestures towards fixing the UK property market seemed to be the order of the day.
£5.5 billion for the Housing Infrastructure Fund – in a move aimed at supporting the building of 650,000 new homes.
£1 billion to support SME housebuilders.
The abolition of Stamp Duty for all first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued up to £500,000 – which will be backdated to the date of the last Budget.
The failure to introduce tax breaks for landlords prepared to offer longer tenancies seems a particularly missed opportunity, as industry research has shown that mandatory longer tenancies may cause some landlords to exit the sector, and that not all tenants are looking for long-term agreements.
The introduction of tax breaks for longer tenancies in the Autumn Budget would certainly have lessened the blow to many landlords of announced plans to introduce mandatory three-year tenancies.
Founder and CEO of Emoov, Russell Quirk, commented: ‘As expected, the Government has chosen to turn its back on addressing the current housing crisis and has instead deployed yet more cheap magic tricks and white rabbits in an attempt to divert our attention.
Retrospective stamp duty relief on shared ownership properties up to £500,000 is a very small give away and £500 million to help with an additional 650,000 homes will equate to nothing but rhetoric.
To say that the big developers are not land banking shows a completely naive disconnect from reality. Today absence of any meaningful housing announcements is disappointing, to say the least especially when housing is the second hottest political topic in this day and age.
We’ve been led to believe that this Government is serious about fixing Britain’s broken housing market, but so far their attempts equate to little more than plugging holes with PVC and sticky tape, rather than delivering a solution based on a watertight blueprint.’
Other property experts were equally disappointed by the Autumn Budget.
Rory O’Neill, Head of Residential, Carter Jonas, said: ‘The Chancellor has withheld much-needed support from landlords and tenants who are in a continuous state of flux over changes in fees and tax legislation. We would urge the Government to explore the correlation between financially squeezed landlords, many of whom struggle to invest in their properties, and tenants struggling to find homes that are fit for purpose.
‘In throttling landlords with the removal of taxation relief, many are vacating the market altogether, which is creating a shortage of good quality lettings properties in an affordable price bracket. Not ideal when so many tenants are already crippled by rents and unable to save for a deposit of their own.’