Housing took centre stage in today’s Autumn Budget, with Chancellor Philip Hammond announcing the abolition of stamp duty for most first-time buyers and major house-building reforms.
Mr Hammond said that while there is no ‘magic bullet’ to solve the housing affordability crisis, a series of planning reforms could kickstart construction of a record number of new homes.
Elsewhere, Mr Hammond announced a consultation into how longer tenancies in the private rented sector could work.
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Stamp duty to be abolished for first-time buyers
The chancellor announced that from today, stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing homes priced up to £300,000 will be abolished.
If you buy a property for between £300,000 and £500,000, the relief will apply on the first £300,000.
Properties bought for more than £500,000 won’t be affected by the changes.
The government believes 95% of first-time buyers will benefit up to a maximum of £5,000, and 80% of first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty at all.
Which? Money expert Harry Rose explains the changes.
300,000 new homes a year by mid-2020s
The government aims to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s through a combination of land reforms and funding packages.
Mr Hammond has pledged a total of £44bn of funding, loans and guarantees to increase building outputs.
Currently, 270,000 properties with planning permission are sitting un-built in London alone – so Mr Hammond announced an urgent review into how homes are delivered and why permissions are not being acted upon. Where local authorities are unduly delaying, the government confirmed it was prepared to intervene.
Consultation on longer-term tenancies
The prospect of bringing in longer-term tenancies in the private rented sector has long been proposed as a way of offering greater security for tenants.
Mr Hammond has now announced a consultation will be launched in to how this could work in the future, including how tenants who wanted longer leases could be given that option.
Unoccupied properties face higher council tax bills
The government is also keen to end the trend of high numbers of homes being left unoccupied.
To encourage empty properties to be brought back into use, local councils will be able to increase their council tax premiums from 50% to 100% on vacant homes.
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