Thursday, 23 November 2017

The budget and housing in the South West

The housing industry is not very impressed with the budget:
UK Budget: Housing plans send builders’ stocks on shaky ride - Financial Times
Scepticism at long-term benefit of Budget housing measures - Estate Agent Today

Although in the South West, it seems more positive:

Budget 2017: Chancellor Phils the housing gap – by Nick Haines of Hazlewoods

Professional Services News

Written by: Nick Haines | Posted 23 November 2017 8:51

In the Chancellor’s first Autumn Budget, the gloomy downgrading of the UK’s growth forecasts was offset, during his speech, by some positive announcements about increased spending for education, housing, the NHS and to improve productivity.

However, with a distinct lack of tax raising measures, you have to question where the money is going to come from.

On top of the £3.5 billion previously scheduled increase in funding for the NHS, Mr Hammond announced an additional, exceptional £2.8 billion with £350 million available immediately to help improve A&E waiting times.

In an attempt to assist the next generation with the new digital economy, investment is to be made into education or, more specifically, into maths.

Schools and colleges, who support their students to study Maths, will be rewarded by giving them £600 for every extra pupil who decides to take Maths or Further Maths A Levels, or Core Maths.

It was widely predicted that housing would be at the heart of this Budget and the Chancellor didn’t disappoint, with wide ranging plans aimed at achieving 300,000 new homes per year, but only by the mid 2020s.

One of his major tax announcements also related to the housing market, where first time buyers of houses worth up to £300,000 will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Those acquiring higher valued properties of up to £500,000 will receive a nil rate band on the first £300,000, the aim being to assist 95 per cent of first time buyers and help turn their dreams of home ownership into a reality.

The Chancellor announced that there is to be an increase in the tax free personal allowance in 2018/19 to £11,850 and for the higher rate band to £46,350.

Companies took a hit with the announcement that ‘indexation allowance’ will be frozen from 1 January 2018, meaning companies will no longer benefit from relief for inflationary rises when selling chargeable assets, which individuals lost back in 2008.

There was relief that the VAT threshold was not reduced, as had been talked about in advance of the Budget, although the registration threshold of £85,000 is to be frozen for the next two years.

It is perhaps of no surprise that there were no controversial measures announced from the Chancellor of a minority Government. The last thing they need at the moment is a Finance Bill that is not passed by the House.

It remains to be seen as to whether the measures announced appeal to the youth that appear to have deserted the Conservatives in droves.

Regardless, the Government appears to be committed to giving them every opportunity of watching the next election from their own home.

Nick Haines partner at Hazlewoods.

Budget 2017: Pledges on housebuilding are a positive step, writes Garry King, chief executive of Two Rivers Housing

Construction & Commercial Property News

Written by: Garry King | Posted 22 November 2017 15:38

The Chancellor has promised more money to build houses and increase skills in the construction industry and has set an ambitious target to build 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s, in order to address the housing crisis, writes Garry King, ceo of Two Rivers Housing.

This is a positive step in general terms and we await to see the detail of how the £43bn pledged for housing and construction is targeted. We believe that a healthy supply of affordable homes to both rent and buy is essential to help those who need them and, in particular, to support those living in rural areas such as the Forest of Dean.

I do, however, look forward to the outcome of the review of ‘land-banking’ and details about the compulsory purchase powers, as it is essential that land is made available to build the homes that are so urgently needed.

The announcements on Universal Credit would appear to signal an easing of the potential hardship expected for our tenants – who are among the most vulnerable in society – and the removal of the seven-day waiting period at the beginning of a claim and the two-week overlap of housing benefit are to be welcomed

As always, we wait to hear more detail behind these headline statements to appreciate the full implications for the housing sector and our tenants.

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