Spring Statement 2018: opportunity missed for the UK property market

Chancellor Hammond’s first Spring Statement yesterday although upbeat about economic growth did not reveal any major changes for the UK property market. The Housing Secretary will be announcing more on housing policy over the next few days and we will keep you updated here.

We welcome the confirmation of £44 billion to raise housing supply to 300,000 a year by mid-2020’s but can’t help but question whether that will be enough. It’s very easy for overarching figures to distort what’s happening on the ground. We’re still hearing from our SME housebuilder partners about the difficulties in accessing development finance and there is an increasing appetite for the 100% funding that Go Develop offers in solution.

A summary of the key points for housebuilders from the 2018 Spring Statement:

• £44 billion confirmed to increase housing supply to 300,000 a year by 2020
• £4.1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to build homes in 44 specified areas, including a deal with the West Midlands to deliver 215,000 new homes in the next 13 years
• £220 million financial support for small housebuilders from The Housing Growth Partnership
• £1.67 billion to build 27,000 affordable homes by 2021-22 in London

Hammond reminded us that stamp duty for first-time buyers of homes under £300,000 was abolished in the Autumn Budget 2017. Buyers of properties up to £500,000 have gained from the change and an estimated 60,000 first-time buyers have benefited so far. This is a great step but with Brexit negotiations ongoing, we feel there was a missed opportunity for the Spring Statement to build on this with further reforms to address the well reported challenges facing the UK’s property industry.

Jason Tebb, Chief Operating Officer, jtebb@ultimateholdings.com