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The Budget and the Industry

The Budget and the Industry

Gavin | 25 November 2017

The property headline for the Budget was, without a doubt, the abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers for properties up to £300,000.

This, along with pledges to right to buy and help to buy, is an issue popular with the electorate concerned with "generation rent" but do not rank highly on the industry's priority list according to our recent London Development survey (LDB).  

Let's have a look at how the budget fares for the industry's top three priorities:

#1. Improve townplanning process - e.g CIL, affordable housing, etc

The jury is out as to whether the Budget addresses this issue in a way that makes positive impact.  Very few details were offered.  The Budget seems heavily focused on post-planning delivery and on housing, and very little on facilitating the process to gaining planning permissions. 

#2. Funding for local authorities, infrastructure, transport and housing delivery

This wraps the top two factors that the LDB has told us could make the most positive impact over the next two years, and the Budget is making funds available and lifting borrowing caps for local authorities. The Budget has more-than-doubled the Housing Infrastructure Fund from the NPIF pot and confirmed commitment to Crossrail 2.  Given the squeeze on local authority funding throughout austerity, the Government, by implication, is placing the burden of commercial savviness on local authorities.

The devil is in the details, hopefully to become clearer in the coming months.  In any case, the funding should allow local authorities to invest in the construction of new homes for sale as well as rent.

#3. Release land

The Budget is calling on the HCA, now rebranded as Homes England, to intervene more directly with the land market, with a £1.1bn Land Assembly Fund also through the NPIF.

On balance, the Budget, as expected, is very much a budget to address the housing crisis, with little focus on other uses.  The challenge remains on shoring up supply through town planning process improvement to achieve the volumes and ultimately affordability for all buyers and renters.