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The Autumn Budget and the UK Housing Market

On Wednesday (22nd November) Phillip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget and the UK Property Market was featured heavily. As part of our continuing work to keep our readers and our clients up to date with the latest news, we take a look at some of the key points and try to demystify some of the more complicated elements which have confused people over the last couple of days.

Stamp Duty

As of 00.01am on Thursday (23rd November) stamp duty for all first-time buyers has been abolished for properties up to £300k. For high value areas such as London, stamp duty will also be removed from the first £300k of purchases up to £500k. This will benefit first-time buyers in the South East of England most as we have the highest number of properties in that price bracket.

To us it feels like a policy that has solved one problem but caused another. It’s great because it will encourage first-time buyers to buy sooner by reducing the total cost up front, it should also stimulate the market from the “bottom up”.

However, this move may discourage people buying in the lead up to any budget for the next 3-5 years – just imagine all the stamp duty that could’ve been saved if summer buyers had held off for the new year. It will also mean that anyone selling a property for around £510k-£550k with have an additional price pressure point.

As mentioned before, this move will boost the markets in London and the South east however, do they really need it. In London £300k doesn’t get you an awful lot – but in the North of England that money goes a lot further – so perhaps we’ll see commuter towns growing.

Housing Crisis

We are always concerned with the lack of housing and our list of prospective buyers outweighs the housing available by a significant amount. Mr Hammond claimed that “housebuilding is now at its highest level since the financial crisis” and that the government will commit at least £44billion over the next five years to boost the supply of skills, resources and land to create more homes.

However, this doesn’t really control the increasing cost of moving house in the UK. For many people in the area we are seeing houses being occupied by people who are ‘trapped’ by the inflating costs. For example a couple having bought their first home five years ago are now ready to take the second step to a larger home may be unable to make that step due to 1. ballooning costs or 2. lack of suitable properties.

This issue is cyclical in its nature. The lack of suitable property is due to the fact that family homes are occupied by older couple whose families have moved out and the idea of downsizing is put on hold due to the massive costs associated with moving. Meaning younger couples/families are trapped in homes that are too small and older couples are trapped in homes that are too big for them. It feels like a system that is somewhat broken.

Planning and Affordability

It’s not all doom and gloom though. A planning reform will focus on urban areas where the demand for properties is high and transport is easily accessible – this plan to build in urban areas will help protect the greenbelt. The government will also look to develop five new garden towns utilising the Oxford-Cambridge corridor.

If you are looking for a property in Beaconsfield or the surrounding areas and would like to speak to someone about your options, make sure you speak to one of our team on 01494 680018 or send us an email and we’ll get back to you asap. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye on all the latest on the local property market as well as community news.

Image credit: By Chris Bain