This Budget may prove to be amissed opportunity in the Government’s race against time to meet its own housing targets as a number of key figures in the industry have issued reactions to today’s announcements.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builds, said: “The Government has set itself a target of a million new homes by 2020. That is rightly ambitious, but the continuing gap between what’s being built and what needs to be built makes hitting that target more difficult by the day. Official statistics show that annual housing completions in England totalled just over 140,000 in 2015, a long way short of the 200,000 homes we need every year to hit one million. We are nearly 12 months into the current Parliament and the Government is already falling well behind on its targets.
We recognise that the Government is working on a number of fronts to speed up the planning process and intervene to support first time buyers, and some of the measures in today’s Budget are welcome steps forward. Yet these announcements are limited in scope and won’t signal the step change that we need to see. We cannot afford to lose momentum in the battle to beat the housing crisis.”
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, National landlords Association (NLA), said: “The Chancellor said that this government would tax the things it wants to reduce not the things it wants to encourage.
On that basis, it’s clear he does not regard ordinary people putting their own money into providing homes as worthwhile.The steady upward ratchet of taxation on landlords over the past year shows that George Osborne is determined to bear down on the private rented sector, but he still depends on the tax revenues he expects to pull in from them.
The NLA called for a short term easing of CGT to allow landlords to restructure their portfolios or to exit the market altogether but it appears that however much he wants us out, he can’t afford to allow us to leave.”
Russell Quirk, eMoov CEO and former Brentwood First councillor,commented: “A very disappointing budget from a property point of view and for UK buyers and sellers. The capital gains tax reductions, whilst bold, are a missed trick and a kick in the teeth for those second home-sellers, that will not benefit from a reduction in capital gains tax on their property sale. This was hardly a budget to assist hard working people with more than one property, not to mention Mr Osborne’s total failure to address the issue of housing supply that has been touched upon in previous budgets.
It’s startling that the provision of much-needed housing supply did not seem to be referred to at all, despite rhetoric in previous budgets seemingly encouraging public land to be turned over to address the housing supply issue.
In previous budgets, Mr Osborne has enjoyed referring to fixing the roof whilst the sun is shining, may I respectively suggest that he turns his attention to building some roofs whilst the sun is shining instead.
The move to apply new stamp duty changes to larger institutional investors, as well as smaller Buy to Let landlords, is a fair one, although I believe this was probably an oversight from last year and nothing to shout from the rooftops about.
I think the move to mirror the residential stamp duty slice system for commercial properties is also a fair one, but again, not a move that will benefit the man on the street as it were but more the larger commercial developer.
John Phillips, group operations director of Spicer Haart and Just Mortgages, had this to say: “Despite George Osborne’s ‘we are the builders’ mantra, he admitted that the country’s failure to build more housing has been identified as a major problem.
Although he said the focus will be on speeding up the planning system, he gave very little explanation as to how this will actually be achieved, which raises more questions than it answers.
Osborne also re-stated the residential stamp duty reforms that will come into force next month and confirmed that large investors with more than 15 properties in their portfolios will be covered. However, until real measures are taken and building activity increases substantially, the long-term issue around demand for houses and the lack of housing supply means affordability will remain a significant challenge. It is therefore crucial that more work is done to get the homes built that the growing population desperately needs, and I’m surprised that his key priority wasn’t housing.”
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, comments on the Government’s decision to not include an exemption for large-scale property investors from the 3% SDLT surcharge for additional homes: “The Government’s decision to not include an exemption for investors who are purchasing large portfolios of properties for rent is extremely disappointing, and deals a huge blow to the build to rent sector. This is going to be a significant deterrent to the institutional investment currently poised to settle in the purpose-built rented sector, which has the opportunity to deliver a significant number of new, quality affordable homes.”