George Osborne has put a smile on his face and thousands of people’s faces across the nation after today’s Autumn Statement.
James Bailey, the chief executive of Henry and James estate agents saw glimpses of the sun starting to shine through the clouds.
“For many months now, we have been talking about the housing chain and the importance of getting first-time buyers on the ladder. It has been an incredibly positive Autumn Statement,” says Bailey.
“The fact is, everything has a knock-on effect, and what the Chancellor has done, at last, is to create a flow, and that is the important thing.It will give help not just to the 20-year-olds, but to the 30-and 40-year-olds who haven’t been able to get onto the first rung of the housing ladder.”
What, though, of the Osborne refusal to lower rates of stamp duty, up in the higher echelons of house prices?
“I had no expectation of Osborne reducing stamp duty. In fact, he has put it up by 3 per on buy-to-let purchases and second homes. I was expecting this because the Bank of England has been hinting at this for some time,” adds Bailey.
“On the other hand, as a taxpayer and a father of four, this Autumn Statement is going to have a rejuvenating factor, especially outside London, in places like Cornwall and Devon.”
Plus points include the selling off of old prisons, such as Holloway, to make way for new housing, a key plank in the new strategy.
“We have failed to build enough houses in recent years”, acknowledged the Chancellor. “We now choose not just to build houses, but to build houses that people can afford to buy. It’s time to do much more.”
“There is a crisis of home ownership in this country. We made a start in the last Parliament with schemes like Help To Buy, which increased the number of first-time buyers by 60 per cent.
“Now we shall develop 400,000 new homes by the end of the decade, not just for people to rent, but to buy. In addition, we shall also sell properties to first-time buyers at 20 per cent off market price, so that they can save for a deposit. At the same time, we shall provide £4 billion to build 135,000 Help To Buy shared-ownership homes by 2021.”
With extensions to the buy-to-let scheme having been mooted for some time, even before the Chancellor rose to his feet in the Commons, reports were coming in of housebuilding companies seeing increases in their share prices. At the same time, increases to NHS budgets and care for the elderly were being announced by Mr Osborne
Asked to score the Chancellor out of 10, James Bailey, the chief executive of Henry and James, is in no doubt that the Statement will give housebuilding a kick-start, and he is delighted that, at the same time, steps continue to be taken by the Exchequer to reduce the fiscal deficit.
“Very encouraging”, is his verdict. “I’d give him a high mark, somewhere between seven and a half and eight out of 10.”Back to News