Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s hotly anticipated mini budget is an admission that the property industry is our best buffer from the economic blows dealt by COVID 19.
Among the many measures he unveiled – including a £10 voucher tempt people to eat out again – the abolition of stamp duty on properties up to £500,000 was the undisputed highlight. It means that nine out of 10 people who move home this year will pay no stamp duty, saving an average of over £4,000.
The news is particularly welcome for housebuilders, who have already seen an encouraging uptick in reservations since the loosening of lockdown. A saving of up to £15,000 is bound to stoke demand even further.
Other commentators have pointed out that the flashy move will provide short-term relief, but it will do nothing to fix any underlying problems. Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, belie and creator of automated lettings platform, PlanetRent said: “The Chancellor’s proposals to exempt most homebuyers from paying any stamp duty under plans to kick-start Britain’s economic recovery is welcome news.
“A stamp duty holiday would no doubt cause a rush of transactions and help breathe life into a housing market that has been put into deep freeze in an effort to battle coronavirus. The government should be looking at long-term solutions as well as short-term sticking plasters when it comes to fixing the UK housing market.
“Millions of Brits were already renting, and that number was predicted to grow anyway with or without coronavirus. The disruption caused by coronavirus will likely see rental demand grow, as banks squeeze potential buyers with tighter lending restrictions and people put off buying or selling a home as it becomes clearer COVID-19 has caused continued uncertainty and disruption in the medium term.
“Eliminating additional stamp duty for buy-to-let investors would help stimulate the supply of rental homes while also driving wider activity in the housing market. Landlords are a crucial source of development finance through off-plan sales and will help support getting Britain building again.”
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