With housing being one of the key issues on the UK political landscape at present, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced several measures in the 2018 Budget in order to fix the market and boost UK living standards and productivity.

What does the 2018 Budget say about property?

  1. First-time buyer’s relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax extended to include buyers of “Shared-Ownership” properties i.e. when the buyer buys 25%-75% of the home and rents the rest of it.
    • This will only apply to properties worth up to £500,000.
    • The relief can be backdated so that anyone who has bought a shared-ownership property since last year’s budget can claim the relief.
  2. The Help-to-Buy Scheme which has propped up the residential property market over the last few years has been extended and will now come to an end in April 2023.
  3. A £675 million fund put towards helping councils transform their retail zones, with a possible relaxation of the planning rules with regards to converting commercial properties into residential. The government sees this as key to use up the “wasted space” above high street shops.
  4. A £500 million fund put towards the Housing Infrastructure fund which the Council can apply to for help to build additional homes.
  5. A removal of the cap which limits councils ability to build council homes.
  6. £1 billion worth of British Business bank guarantees to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises building homes.

What does this mean for the property sector?

Overall, this is a mildly positive budget for the property sector but lacked any reduction in the higher rates of SDLT which the sector has been calling for to ease the stagnation at the top end of the housing market. The budget is however consistent with the current Government’s commitment to deliver more affordable housing.