The spring Budget is looming. The UK property media are predicting Philip Hammond’s policies for the housing market. We round-up views and news from The Times, Telegraph, Guardian and Express, plus views from Fine & Country agents.
“Theresa May, the prime minister, has signalled that the Government will do more to support renters in the latest Budget by building more affordable rental properties,” said The Telegraph. “Previous policies, such as Help to Buy, were focused on supporting home ownership.”
Anne Ashworth of The Times said: “Stamp duty is becoming a divisive issue as the Budget looms. Any suggestion that reform is necessary because of the adverse effects of this tax on the market is seen as an attempt to lower taxes for the rich.”
“Younger families are being deterred from house-hunting by stamp duty,” she continued. “They are also reluctant to apply for a mortgage and these concerns may be well founded. More homebuyers are being hit by Bank of England limits on how much they can borrow.”
The Express predicts that the Chancellor will raise the stamp duty threshold for the least expensive homes. “Under current rules, homes bought for under £125,000 are exempt from stamp duty. But with rising house prices, more buyers have been pulled into paying the tax, which can be a major obstacle for first-time buyers hoping to get on to the ladder.”
The Guardian says that changed to buy-to-let mortgages are guaranteed. "There are big and complex changes for people with buy-to-let mortgages in April, which for some will see their tax bill double or even triple. At the moment, landlords can deduct mortgage interest and other finance-related costs from their rental income before calculating tax liability. But this interest relief is being slashed from 100% to zero, although in a phased way."
They also say that something may be announced about the new buy-to-let taxes, due to the negative reaction from estate agents and landlords.
Fine & Country agent Simon Bradbury has a wish list for the Budget.
“Any policies encouraging first-time buyers will have the biggest impact on housing, causing a ripple effect right across the whole market,” said Simon.
“I hope that government continues to use policy to increase activity on the supply side of the housing equation. I hope to hear that there will be an easing of planning laws, at the very least. I think that there needs to be significant financial incentive for local authorities to release a lot more Green Belt land for housing.”
“There should be more of a financial incentive for sellers to downsize to increase the housing stock at the top end of the market,” he said.
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