Industry slams Budget proposals for housing market

Industry slams Budget proposals for housing market




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Yesterday’s greatly anticipated Budget failed to deliver much relief for the crippled housing market, in the eyes of most industry figures.
 
The Chancellor outlined plans to increase public borrowing up to £175 billion for this year and 2010, arguing: “You can grow your way out of a recession; you can’t cut your way out of it.”
 
However, there was no “kick start” for the housing industry, with Mr Darling confirming an extension of the stamp duty holiday until the end of the year for properties under £175,000 and reiterating various Government schemes to provide aid for struggling borrowers. 
 
David Bexon, Managing Director of SmartNewHomes.com, said: “The Chancellor’s pledges to aid the market are paltry in the extreme, offering a series of half measures, as opposed to any major financial injections or hard-hitting confidence boosters.There seems to be an incredible nonchalance about the importance of housing in the overall economic recovery of this country. Given the amount of money extensively drip-fed into the banking sector over the past year, I find the Government’s pledge of just £500 million to support the production of new homes very disappointing.”
 
The Chancellor also announced an £80 million extension of the HomeBuy Direct scheme and the launch of a £20 million proposal for local authorities to give loans to families facing homelessness.
 
Despite the small positives, the commercial property industry condemned the lack of any concessions on empty rates relief, following months of lobbying from property companies being made to pay high rates on unoccupied buildings.
 
The chief executive of the British Property Federation, Liz Peace, said the Budget ignored basic economic sense as empty rates “undermine the viability of new development and investment.”
 
The Budget was further criticized by the National Association of Estate Agents, who likened it to using a “water pistol to put out a fire.”

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