2013 budget reaction
On Wednesday 20 March, George Osborne - Chancellor of the Exchequer - took to the dispatch box in the House of Commons to unveil his 2013 budget. Among his announcements were a number of new policies for the property industry, including a new Help to Buy Scheme, Government backed mortgage guarantees and the streamlining of planning procedures. Dawn Carritt, director of national estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff, backed the announcement for mortgage guarantees. She said: The announcement to continue with the guaranteed mortgage scheme will help support not only first time buyers and those looking to obtain a mortgage with limited funds for a deposit, it will help support the housing market, enabling not just new owners but existing owners and go towards freeing up the market and support the signs of recovery in the housing market which are just starting to emerge in some areas of the country. Tim Dansie, director of the Jackson-Stops & Staff Ipswich, also comments on Wednesdays budget: Any stimulus to the property market is not only of direct assistance, but it also engenders confidence all round in the property market. It is good news if the government are prepared to put their weight behind the housing market, as then confidence will rise with the economy as a whole. We now just need a bit of activity to get going in the country and an increase in the volume of transactions. Prices seem to have held up, but the volume of transactions has been down. Ben Babington, director of residential development at Jackson-Stops & Staff, welcomed the news but suggested there were other areas that needed to be looked at: The Chancellors announcement to get planning processes moving more quickly is welcome news; but what the country really needs is an entire reform of its planning system, if we are to deliver the million new homes needed by 2015. More sites need to be released for redevelopment and it is only the local planning authoritys ability and willingness to release this supply that can change this. Without a clear set of guidelines to reduce the number of appeals that have to be made, all it does is clog up the development pipeline of suitable land. On the funding side, the government really has to do whatever they can to encourage the traditional bank to start lending to experienced developers again. We have so many clients that have been successful developers for over 25 years, yet the traditional lending routes are largely unavailable to them. The traditional high street lender has to be encouraged to lend and support these experienced firms with a good track record. The First Buy scheme has proven to be incredibly successful with a number of our developers, so it is great to see that this has been extended. Not only is it a great way of getting those at the bottom of the chain on the ladder, but it will continue to have a positive affect on getting the rest of the market moving.