Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons yesterday. Here are the key points relevant to buyers, sellers and the property industry as a whole.
More help for first-time buyers
Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced more help for first-time buyers combined with plans for homes on the High Street in the Autumn Budget. Under the new measures, most first-time buyers of shared ownership properties will now no longer pay stamp duty. Chancellor Philip Hammond also added that the Help to Buy scheme is to end in 2023 – giving it a two-year extension.
More houses to be built
Hammond announced that the government will provide an extra £500m for its Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will help build 650,000 homes. The UK Government has also made deals with nine housing associations in order to deliver 13,000 homes across England. Philip Hammond commented that he wants to see more SMEs – small and medium-sized enterprises – building houses and has announced up to £1bn of British business bank guarantees. Mr Hammond also confirmed that the cap on councils that limits their ability to borrow money to build council houses would be scrapped.
More homes on High Streets
As part of his £1.5bn boost to help develop High Streets throughout the UK, Mr Hammond announced the creation of a £675m fund to help councils transform their main retail zones. Part of this investment could be spent on turning unused High Street shops or commercial buildings into homes. “If British High Streets are to remain at the centre of our community life, they will need to adapt,” Mr Hammond said. He also added that the government was going to consult on how to simplify the process of converting commercial units into homes.
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