House building and reinvigorating the property market is widely expected to be a key message in Philip Hammond’s Budget.
The chancellor is expected to announce plans to build 300,000 new homes every year, and also address how tough it is for young people to get on to the property ladder.
Among the key areas he is expected to address are:
Stamp duty: with the average cost of a home in Britain around £226,000, that means buyers have to find a deposit of at least £22,000, often more in the case of first-time buyers.
Stamp duty stands at 2% on a property under £250,000 – equating to £5,000 more people have to find to get the keys to a new home.
Many believe Hammond will scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers, freeing them from the burden of having to scrape together another few thousand pounds, money which could go towards a deposit or paying for other things, like surveyor fees.
House building: he is expected to find £5bn for house building, with a target of 300,000 new homes a year – short of the £50bn Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has previously called for.
Housing associations will be reclassified as private bodies allowing their £70bn debt to be removed from the government’s balance sheet. The technical change would allow them to build more affordable ‘social housing’ – another key measure to help “hardworking families” and the “just about managing” families.
He will also reaffirm the Tories’ promise from last month’s party conference to commit £10bn more of Help to Buy equity loans.
Planning: one of the most frustrating and contentious areas for house builders and conservationists.
While there is unlikely to be a radical shake-up of the rules regarding green belt land, he is thought to be ready to give local authorities more powers for compulsory purchase of land. “This move would be attractive in that it would cost the chancellor nothing,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club.
Council rules: there has also been speculation that the chancellor will relax constraints on council borrowing. London mayor Sadiq Khan has spoken at length about the desperate need for more housing in the capital and said today: “But we urgently need government to play its part by giving the capital the resources, powers, and freedoms we need to underpin a step change in what we can do.”