In the build-up to the 2017 Spring Budget there were the usual suggestions that reforms could be imminent for the UK’s property industry. What transpired on Wednesday was very different, with property almost entirely overlooked in the Chancellor’s speech.
Given the fact that Britain has a globally-renowned property market that forms a critical part of the nation’s economy, it is surprising that the sector went without mention in the announcement. There are two probable reasons for this: the first is that with the Budget now moving to the autumn, the Government is withholding any significant reforms for its chief fiscal statement later in the year; the second is that the Conservative Party had already outlined its plans for the future of the UK property industry in the Housing White Paper, released just last month, which largely focused on the construction of more affordable homes.
Nevertheless, the Chancellor’s decision not to address certain property-related issues in the Spring Budget was disappointing. In the build-up to the speech, Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions (MFS), was featured in the press discussing the need for the Government to assess ways of preventing property-buyers from being gazumped, which was not done. Furthermore, following the announcement, Paresh has spoken to several other notable trade publications – including Mortgage Introducer and 24housing – to stress that Philip Hammond made a mistake by not proposing any reforms to Stamp Duty.
Paresh explained: “Excessive taxes on property purchases can prevent individuals or families from moving to larger homes, in turn meaning there are fewer small houses available for first-time buyers. Cutting Stamp Duty could have created a more fluid industry that favoured both those trying to get on the property ladder and those trying to expand their property portfolio.”
Despite these oversights, there were some noteworthy initiatives unveiled in the Spring Budget that could impact the UK’s property market and real estate investors. These included the Government’s commitment to improving transport infrastructure across the UK, with £90 million invested in the north of England and £23 million for the Midlands to address “pinch points” on roads. Furthermore, £16 million is being allocated for the development of 5G mobile technology and £200 million to further improve local broadband networks.
To round-up exactly what the policies, reforms and initiatives outlined in the Chancellor’s speech will mean for the UK’s property industry, MFS has produced its 2017 Spring Budget Factsheet. Download the report, here.