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Government’s Autumn Statement – Measures to Alleviate Housing Market

A number of measures to alleviate the stalled housing market were announced in the Government’s Autumn Statement:

  • The Stamp Duty Holiday for first-time buyers, which will end in March 2012, has had little or not impact across our regional offices.  Average house prices across the GSC Grays offices will be above that of the national average and in the scheme of things a couple of thousand pounds off does little or nothing to encourage first time buyers to the market, as the actual issue is the high base cost of housing in the area.   Even in areas which have felt an impact due to house-stock prices falling under this level, there is a lethargy in the market still for secure lending for first-time buyers and investors.  Whilst the rental sector is still strong, there are many properties that will not yeild sufficiently at the level between £90,000 – £125,000.
  • A mortgage indemnity scheme for new-build property: under which housebuilders and the Government will jointly underwrite part of the loan (9%) in an attempt to make banks relax their lending criteria and offer 95% loan-to-value mortgages. The Government will provide security for the loan, so if the house is then sold for less than the outstanding mortgage total the lender will be able to recover its loss. It has been criticised as encouraging more people into mortgages they can not afford, however this may be of some assistance on the more urban fringes where naturally this type of development will occur.  There is however a danger that it maybe counter-productive and people are not interested in taking such high loan to value mortgages.
  • Get Britain Building Fund Investment Fund: starting in July 2012 developers will compete for £400m of funding to take forward ‘shovel-ready’ projects to ‘unblock’ stalled development schemes, for example by helping developers meet affordable housing requirements.
  • Bigger Right to buy discounts: of up to 50% for social housing tenants wanting to buy their own property. The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, says it could worsen the shortage of social housing. The Government has promised to build as many new council homes as are sold via a new model involving higher social rents.  GSC Grays see this as a positive step for those tenants who are able to take advantage of the scheme.  There is some talk of this creating further supply issues of available social housing, however the Government has promised to build as many as they subsequently sell.
  • £30m to support provision of short-term finance to encourage more people to build their own home through a Custom Homes programme.

Please click here to read the Government paper ‘Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England’, billed as a radical new strategy to reignite the housing market and get the nation building again, which was launched on 21 November by the Prime Minister.



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