Amidst all the various reactions, postmortems, reports, comments and critiques, the summary from ARLA Propertymark, our lettings governing body, clearly outlines what the Autumn Budget held for housing.
This year’s Autumn Budget was probably one of the most anticipated in recent years, setting out the domestic policy and fiscal measures direction ahead for the UK ahead of Brexit. The Chancellor sold the budget as a “budget that paves the way for a brighter future” saying that the era of Austerity is finally coming to an end, and that the country now has a new future outside the EU. He also said that, if necessary, he would extend the 2019 Spring Statement into a full fiscal event.
It was a budget relatively devoid of fiscal measures which will directly affect the private rented sector, with perhaps the biggest announcement coming in relation to Universal Credit.
The Chancellor announced an extra £1 billion of funding over the next five years to help aid the transition from areas that have still yet to make the move from the old benefits system to the new benefits package that is Universal Credit. He also promised “additional protection” for those moving onto UC, adding that more details will follow later this year. Work allowances will be increased by £1,000 per annum.
From April 2020 the Government will limit Lettings Relief to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant, and reduce the final period exemption from 18 months to 9 months.
Chancellor Hammond also announced a financial package aimed at boosting the UKs high streets, which will include £900 million in business rates relief, cutting business rate bills by a third for almost half a million small businesses. A further £675 million co-funding injection is set to be introduced over the next four years and will allow towns and cities to redevelop under-used retail space into homes and offices, providing help to restore High Street properties and put historic buildings back into use.
The sales market
The Chancellor biggest announcement relating to the sales market was that stamp duty relief would be extended to include first-time buyers of shared ownership properties under £500,000.
Other key measures taken to address housing supply and planning were: