Budget 2020 – What does it mean for the housing sector?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his first budget, and the first post-brexit and budget of the new parliamentary term, on the 11th March in the House of Commons, announcing the government’s tax and spending for the year ahead.
In the Queen’s Speech in December, her majesty announced her government would ‘take steps to support homeownership, including by making homes available at a discount for local first-time buyers.’
The main points from the budget to affect housing are:
- A £10.9 billion increase in housing investment to support the commitment to build at least 1 million new homes by the end of the Parliament, and an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s
- Nearly £1.1bn of allocations from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to build nearly 70,000 new homes in high demand areas across the country.
- A further £9.5 billion invested in the Affordable Homes Programme which in total will allocate £12.2 billion of grant funding from 2021-22 to support the creation of affordable homes across England.
- Stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers of UK properties to be levied at 2% from April 2021
- A 1% cut on the Public Works Loan Board interest rate, used by local authorities to fund housebuilding
- £400m to build homes on brownfield sites
- New £1bn fund to remove all unsafe combustible cladding from all public and private housing higher than 18 metres
- £650m package to tackle homelessness, providing an extra 6,000 places for rough sleepers
Overall the announcement points to hugely positive steps to increase housing numbers and affordable housing across the UK, tackle regional inequality, and some pleasing measures to make homes safer and tackle homelessness in the UK.
Leading property portal Rightmove has recently announced figures showing January to be their busiest month for web traffic on record, with web visitors surpassing 150 million for the first time. This demonstrates a huge return in confidence with home-hunters looking to take advantage of a more certain political outlook.