Chancellor Philip Hammond reveals how the government will tackle the UK's housing market crisis in the Autumn Budget
Earlier this afternoon, Philip Hammond revealed details of this year’s Autumn Budget, his second as Chancellor.
In anticipation of the speech, both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister pledged to put housing at the top of their agenda, resulting in a wave of speculation and rumours.
Now the Budget has been revealed, and Mr Hammond announced a range of measures designed to get more properties built and renew prospects of homeownership in the country’s young.
Here are some of the key features of the Autumn Budget relating to property this year:
Confirmation of Stamp Duty Land Tax
Many questions surrounded the Budget, especially with regards to how the Chancellor would approach stamp duty.
The Chancellor had stayed remarkably tight-lipped in the run up to the announcement, waiting until the very end of the Budget to reveal that the tax would indeed be relieved for first-time buyers.
Philip Hammond announced that, effective from today, stamp duty would be permanently abolished for all first-time buyers on properties up to £300,000 in value.
For properties valued at £500,000 or more, the Chancellor revealed that a relief on stamp duty would be available to the first £300,000, targeting those looking to buy in the more expensive markets like London.
Building Britain’s Homes
The Chancellor announced a string of funds designed to aid the UK’s housing market and stimulate the construction of properties.
Earlier in the week, the government unveiled plans to build 300,000 new homes each year, backed by calls from both the House of Lords and Savills.
To do so, the Chancellor revealed the housing markets would receive £44bn in funding over the next 5 years to ensure this target is met.
Additional funding announced includes £2.7bn to housing infrastructure, a £630m “small sites fund”, £8bn of financing to support private housebuilding, and £1.1bn set aside for urban regeneration.
Making Land Available
A key note for the Chancellor was the growing disparity between planning permission applications and homes being built.
He made reference to London, where there were 270,000 unused planning permissions, and announced a review into how land is being used for housing.
Due to be reported next year, and in time for the Spring Statement, he hopes it will get to the heart of the UK’s housing market issues, and look at whether a lack of funding is holding back property developments, or land being withheld.
The review is also designed to look into methods of speeding up the planning permission process as a whole.
Empty Homes Clampdown
A recent report found that in the expensive London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, properties worth approximately £500m saw fines of just £85,000 for being left vacant.
It highlighted how little an impact the fines incurred on empty homes in the capital were, and the Chancellor has announced plans to remedy this.
He announced legislation that would give councils power to impose a 100% council tax premium on properties left vacant, up from the current 50% rate which many councils feel is too low.
The owners of those properties in London would, under the new legislation, face fines of £170,000.
The government's renewed focus on housing in today's Budget follows the announcement that they had met their target of 200,000 new homes built per annum for the first time in the 2016/17 financial year.