Philip Hammond

How the industry responded to the Autumn Budget 2017

Philip Hammond's Autumn Budget has received a mixed response from those within the financial industry.

The chancellor of the exchequer announced that stamp duty for first- time buyers would be abolished for properties up to £300,000, and for the first £300,000 of the purchase price of properties up to £500,000.

How much of an impact will cutting stamp duty have?

Christian Faes, co-founder and CEO at LendInvest, said: “Philip Hammond has shown that this is a government that's finally ready to intervene in the property market, and this will be welcomed by industry.

“Now they must leverage the capacity of lenders in the market to get funds out to those that need it and can get Britain building, finally."

Mario Berti, CEO of Octopus Property, felt the abolition of stamp duty below £300,000 for first-time buyers would make things a little easier, but would not fundamentally tackle the housing crisis in the UK.

“This crisis is one of affordability and that is driven by the shortage of housing and the cost of borrowing.

“Interest rates are rising so the only way to tackle the problem is to build hundreds of thousands of new homes.”

Richard Tugwell, director at Together, welcomed the announcement regarding stamp duty for first-time buyers but also had concerns.

“This move will create the favourable conditions needed in the short term for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

“However, as communities secretary Sajid Javid said before today’s Budget announcement, there are many faults in our housing market that need to be rectified to make worthwhile progress.

“The stamp duty cut may bring about tens of thousands of new house sales – getting the market moving – but it’s crucial that there is access to finance for these customers as regardless of the stamp duty, finding the deposits needed can be difficult for first-time buyers.”

A Budget for younger people?

“There are plenty of reasons for first-time buyers to be jumping for joy on the face of it but, in reality, they only pay stamp duty of £1,500 on average,” said Anthony Rushworth, founder of housebuilding investment platform Homegrown.

“Sparing them from this tax might not cause the exchequer any loss of sleep, but all this will likely do is feed into higher prices for the narrow band of properties they are fighting over.

“This is the problem with strategies that boost demand without addressing the fact there are too few homes being sought by too many buyers.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions, welcomed the reforms that will benefit homebuyers following the underwhelming Spring Budget for the property market but said the amount of money prospective buyers would save was in reality still limited.

“The average first-time buyer spends £200,000 on a property; abolishing stamp duty for them will save them just £1,500.

“Importantly, homeowners looking to upgrade to another property still face the heavy financial burden of stamp duty, which will ultimately deter them from moving house.

“I fear this will have significant implications in the longer term, decreasing the number of people moving from their first property purchase, and thereby reducing the number of properties available for first-time homebuyers and reducing movement in the market as a whole.”

Mark Stephen, founder of Reditum Capital added: “It’s great news to see stamp duty removed for first-time buyers.

”However, I had hoped it would go up to the £600,000 property mark, the same as the Help to Buy scheme.

“This cut will be beneficial to the majority of first-time buyers across the country but won’t be helping those looking to buy in London, where most homes are above the £300,000 threshold.”

Jonathan Sealey, CEO at Hope Capital, believed that the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers and the investigation into land banking were “the big rabbit out of the hat”.

“This was definitely a budget for younger people.

“While land banking is only just at investigation stage, it may result in developers bringing forward housebuilding developments.”

Will Mr Hammond’s housebuilding announcements make a difference?

The chancellor of the exchequer also announced that £44bn of capital funding would be available to deliver new homes over the next five years.

The funding will be made available in loans and guarantees, including £1.1bn to unlock strategic sites, new settlements and urban regeneration schemes and a further £2.7bn for infrastructure work  

James Bloom, managing director of short term lending at Masthaven felt the range of housing measures announced were definitley a step in the right direction.

"The headlines are certainly interesting, especially ‘new money’ for the Home Building Fund – the chancellor announced some impressive numbers here, but as always the devil is in the detail.

"For example, I think allocation of funding for SME developers needs clarification.

“The government has been trying to fix the under supply of new homes for many years, but so far none of the measures have worked sufficiently.

“I think fundamental issues with the housing market remain, for example the number of new homes being built which has led to missed targets and under supply.”

Jonathan Sealey added: “Increased housebuilding would, of course, increase supply, which – if increased in high enough numbers – would have a dampening effect on house price rises, which would again be of benefit to first-time buyers.

“But it is hard to see how this will happen in the short term – in the volumes the government wants – with the current shortage in qualified construction workers.”

Mario added: “The increased support for the Home Building Fund is welcome, but only scratches the surface.

“The government either needs to provide a massive stimulus to the private sector to build new homes or it needs to start building the homes itself.

“Now that would be bold.”

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, believed the chancellor was tackling only part of the problem: the shortage of new homes, rather than the shortage of homes for sale.

“It’s a mistake made by politicians of all stripes.

“The lure of the building site photo opportunity – in which a beaming minister dons a hard hat to drive home the message ‘Britain is building again’ – is all but irresistible to Westminster.

“Britain clearly needs to build many more homes to keep up with future demand.

“But the chancellor’s excessive focus on this small part of the housing shortage misses the bigger, and more immediate, picture.”

Benson Hersch, CEO of the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL), welcomed the announcement of the building of 300,000 new homes a year on average by the mid-2020s, but recalled similar promises from previous governments.

“Without a significant increase in social housing, this is a pipe dream, especially as current figures include permitted development (offices-to-flats, for example) rather than 'ground-up' building.

“For many, a house to call their own remains out of reach as the deposits required are still too high.

“Recent analysis undertaken by the ASTL of our membership shows that bridging loans are [an] increasingly popular forms of finance for people looking to purchase their own homes.

“Such a trend demonstrates how alternative forms of finance are increasingly providing the solutions where government should be and could be bridging the gap.”

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