Spring Statement: Property Industry Reaction

The property industry has reacted to yesterday’s Spring Statement.

Delivered yesterday by Chancellor Philip Hammond, the Statement reflected on the announcements made in last year’s Autumn Budget, providing updates on the progress of policies and the impact they’d had on the economy so far.

As well as reaffirming the commitment to housing delivery, the Chancellor stated that 26,000 new affordable homes would be built in London. Commenting on the impact of the stamp duty relief for first-time buyers, he also stated that an estimated 60,000 had benefitted so far.

Commenting on the announcements made was David Westgate, Group Chief Executive at Andrews Property Group. He stated:  “I welcomed the news last November that Stamp Duty would be abolished for first-time buyers on property purchases of up to £300,000 and on the first £300,000 in higher value areas.  It is, therefore, positive to hear that already 60,000 purchasers have been supported on to the housing ladder through this.

“The fact remains, however, that it doesn’t go far enough.  The Government needs to better observe the rallying calls of those of us in the property sector and understand that Stamp Duty remains one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, obstacles in getting our housing market really moving.

“With anticipation high that November’s main Budget will be the platform for major announcements, I remain steadfast in my hope that there’ll be a removal, or at least a reduction, of the Stamp Duty surcharge on second properties.”

Also sharing his views on the Statement was founder and CEO of Emoov, Russell Quirk. He stated: “Reaffirming to see the Chancellor yet again cover the hot topic of housing, but we still haven’t seen the delivery of promises from previous budgets, so only time will tell if these words will actually equate to action. If it does come to fruition, his pledge of 300,000 homes a year will go some way in addressing the UK’s housing crisis.

“Today’s additional announcement of 215,000 homes within the West Midlands region by 2031 will see an already strong area of the UK property market further accelerate where price growth is concerned. Despite uncertainty plaguing the current property landscape, these more affordable regions have seen a sustained level of buyer demand and so this increased investment into the local property market should only see this continue.

“In contrast, London has been one of the worst hit in terms of a dwindling appetite for property amongst buyers. While the commitment of 26,000 affordable homes in the capital and a total of 116,000 affordable homes by 2022 would be a step in the right direction, the government delivered just under 7,000 affordable homes in 2017. So, there is quite a large gap between their good intentions and reality and this is simply not adequate enough to fix London’s broken housing market.”

North London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, Jeremy Leaf said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s reiteration of the importance of the housing market and how tackling the housing crisis is key to all other economic policies, with particular reference to longer-term building projects and trying to address capacity issues by giving further assistance to apprenticeships.

“However, at grass roots level what we are really lacking is supply and transaction numbers. If these were to be improved, on the one hand it would keep property prices in check and on the other it would generate real benefits for not just the housing market but for the economy as a whole.

“The stamp duty concessions have definitely prompted more interest among first-time buyers, who are often taking the place of investors at the lower end of the market. But further help is needed to make a real difference, not just at the bottom end of the market but right through to the top end if we are to achieve genuine growth.”

Today's Conveyancer