Philip Hammond’s pre-Budget briefings have so far been largely bereft of the housing sector policies that many had expected.
Only one has been revealed so far. The Chancellor says local authorities will be given powers to compulsorily purchase smaller plots from big developers who sit on them, and hand them to smaller house builders.
Hammond has chosen to keep many headline-grabbing policies under wraps until his main speech in the past, but the stark lack of any major housing market policies is surprising.
The government has spent much of this year promising to fix the UK’s ‘broken’ housing market including regulating the industry harder and balancing the rental market more in renters’ and first time buyers’ favour.
Ideas discussed in recent weeks as potential Philip Hammond voter winners include offering landlords capital gains tax-free sales if they sell their buy to let properties to a sitting tenant, and backing for Lord Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill, plus further funding and support for first time buyers.
Other ideas include tax incentives for landlords who offer longer-term tenancies, a delay to – or scrapping of – the Section 24 tax relief reductions facing landlords, and an easing of stamp duty for retired downsizers.
“Given this unfavourable background, we anticipate that the Chancellor will deliver an uncompromising Budget with more take than give,” says Guy Gittins, Managing Director, Chestertons.
“Property has been an easy target in recent Budgets, however we believe that it is not in the country’s best interests to continually hammer a sector which affects the lives of everyone and which is in need of increased government support.”