Spring Statement 2019: What the Chancellor said about housing
The government has long made ‘fixing Britain’s broken housing market’ one of its key priorities.
In his Spring Statement the Chancellor announced a handful of new property measures, including investment into building more homes.
None were exactly a ‘rabbit out of the hat’, but that wasn’t expected with Brexit uncertainty leaving Hammond with little room to plan beyond March 29th.
The housing announcements are:
- £717 million from the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock up to 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Cheshire.
- Through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, the government will guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes
- Further progress on delivering growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc including £445 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock over 22,000 homes, and a joint declaration with local partners.
The measures follow the housing announcements made in the Autumn Budget 2017, when the government set out a package of policies to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970, which it claims is on track to reach 300,000 a year on average.
But are these new pledges enough for the Government to meet its targets?
More needs to be done
Not according to Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions, who said: “The housing crisis stands as one of the biggest issues facing the country, and regardless of how Brexit plays out, we cannot overlook the simple fact that there are not enough houses in the UK to meet demand.
“The Spring Statement did make small mention of property. Indeed, more homes are being added to the market and a new £3 billion fund announced today will add as many as 30,000 new homes to the market. This is positive news, but more needs to be done.
“What the market currently needs is creative reforms to ensure more homes are added to the real estate market, be it through a reduction in stamp duty, incentives for renovating derelict homes or making it easier for buyers to access finance.”
Jerald Solis, business development and acquisitions director of Experience Invest, agreed that more needs to be done to hit the government’s own homebuilding targets.
“Unfortunately, the property market was only briefly mentioned in Chancellor’s speech, which means that any meaningful policy reform will have to wait until the 2019 Autumn Budget,” he said. “This is perhaps most frustrating for property developers and construction companies, which are the firms responsible for delivering new-builds and generally improving infrastructure.
“To support new-build construction targets, the government cannot be complacent – what the industry currently demands is spending commitments and policy reform that will both support property developers, as well as encouraging commercial and residential real estate investment.”