A succinct weekly take on the London property market and a roundup of headlines from the PropertyBrain team. Subscribe to the Friday Roundup here: http://pbra.in/pb-signup
Here’s a roundup of what we think are the big news stories this week:
* As expected, UK chancellor Philip Hammond outlined a series of new measures to fix the UK’s “broken housing market” in his first Autumn budget, including a slash to stamp duty for first-time buyers. The decision to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties valued at up to £300,000 will be applied immediately, and those buying properties valued at up to £500,000 would only pay stamp duty over the £300,000 threshold. In London, just 32.3% of properties currently on the market are below the £500,000 level. In its own five-year forecast, the Office for Budget Responsibility said the cut “would boost the level of house prices by around 0.3%”.
* Philip Hammond promised a total of £44bn of support over the next five years through capital funding, loans and guarantees, including money to support smaller house builders. The government planned to build 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the next decade and revealed a “comprehensive package of new policy” to solve the housing crisis, including the introduction of a consultation on planning reforms and extra cash to train construction workers.
* The Chancellor has announced that the government would back the vision set out by the National Infrastructure Commission on the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, and commit to building up to 1 million homes by 2050. The new homes announcement comes amid plans for a new road between Oxford and Cambridge, which could cost up to £3.5bn. The area between Cambridge and Oxford has been highlighted by the government as “one of the most significant growth corridors in the country”
* The intention to eliminate capital gains tax relief for overseas buyers of UK commercial property has raised fears that it will deter foreign buyers from investing in British developments. The Treasury said the new rules would come into force from April 2019 and would “reduce the incentive for multinational groups to hold UK property through offshore structures, often in low tax or no tax jurisdictions”.
* Local authorities will also be able to double council taxes on empty properties, in a move that will hit people with second homes. Councils can currently charge up to 50% extra council tax if a home has been empty for two years or more. Under the chancellor’s plans, councils will be able to increase the council tax premium to 100%.
* A housing partnership in the UK chose Black Friday morning to launch a new temporary scheme offering buyers 35% off their properties. But there is a catch – it is only older, empty “Doer-Upper” homes in north east Lincolnshire that are getting the discount, and you must be a local person to qualify.