Alastair Woodgate of Property Specialists Rumball Sedgwick

Alastair Woodgate of Property Specialists Rumball Sedgwick asks whether the Chancellor’s recent proposals will bring any real change in the housing market.

The UK is facing a major housing affordability crisis with a whole generation finding itself priced out of the market: average house prices in the UK are now eight times that of average incomes, 20 times in St Albans. In the run up to Novembers Budget, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, promised a concerted effort from the Government to meet the need for more homes by delivering 300,000 homes a year: but did the announcements match up to that ambition?

The Budget included a series of proposals designed to help the housing sector. The headline was the immediate abolition of Stamp Duty Land Tax for first time buyers on properties up to £300,000 – a big step in the right direction in helping thousands of people afford their first homes. On a home worth up to £300,000 (very few in St Albans), you’ll pay no stamp duty – a saving of £5,000 – and for a home costing £500,000 (the ceiling figure) you’ll pay £10,000 instead of £15,000, again a saving of £5,000.

But will this and the other proposals announced, really bring about change, or are they little more than rhetoric asks Property Specialists Rumball Sedgwick?

If the abolition of Stamp Duty was also extended to those wanting to trade down, might that help free up family homes for people that need them most?

Scrapping Stamp Duty for first-time buyers may stimulate activity but it won’t encourage the building of new housing. Indeed, it may just result in house prices increasing, as money that would have gone to the Treasury goes to the seller instead. First-time-buyers should think about acting quickly before the extra demand it creates pushes up prices.

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