Autumn Statement Brings Mixed Reactions from Property Industry

The recent Autumn Statement by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt brought a mix of reactions from the property industry, with a few key announcements impacting the sector. Despite the overall underwhelming response for housing, the Chancellor’s address included some significant updates.

Key Points from the Statement:

Increase in Local Housing Allowance (LHA): The Chancellor announced an increase in the LHA rate to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This move, aimed at assisting private renters on low incomes, is expected to benefit 1.6 million households with an average support of £800 next year. This change comes after the LHA freeze since 2020.

New Permitted Development Right:
A consultation on a new permitted development right for converting a single house into two flats will be launched, with implementation planned for 2024. This is part of efforts to streamline the planning system.

Extension of Mortgage Guarantee Scheme:
The scheme, initially due to close in December 2023, has been extended to June 2025. It supports 95% mortgages for homes up to £600,000.

Additional Announcements:

  • The introduction of premium planning services across England.
  • A £110 million allocation for the Local Nutrient Mitigation Fund.
  • A £32 million investment in housing and planning to unlock thousands of homes.
  • Extension of the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme by £3 billion.
  • A £3 million investment in improving the home buying and selling process.

Industry Reactions:

Bradley Post, MD of RIFT: Welcomed the Chancellor’s tax cuts, noting the positive impact on both businesses and the self-employed, along with the freeze on alcohol duty.

Lauren Wilson-Smith, CEO of ID Crypt Global: Expressed caution regarding the £500 million investment in AI innovation centers, stressing the need for regulatory measures to ensure safety and privacy.

Mitchell Fasanya, Co-founder of Searchland: Showed skepticism towards government commitments on housing supply but acknowledged the shift from demand fueling to addressing supply issues.

Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa: Commented on the lack of substantial benefits for the property market in this year’s statement compared to the turmoil caused by the last year’s mini-budget.

Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves: Criticized the Autumn Statement for lacking imagination and not addressing current issues in the property market.

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital: Expressed disappointment at the missed opportunity to stimulate the sluggish property market.

Chris Hodgkinson, MD of House Buyer Bureau: Noted the surprising absence of housing market incentives, highlighting the government’s focus on supply rather than demand.

Jeremy Raj, Head of Residential Property at Irwin Mitchell: Called for more detail on measures to improve the home buying and selling process, expressed concerns about affordability, and discussed potential SDLT reforms.

William Reeve, CEO of Goodlord: Praised the change to Local Housing Allowance, noting its importance in the context of rising rents.

Tom Goodman, MD of Vouch: Discussed the implications of the statement for landlords, particularly in the context of Section 24 and tax cuts for the self-employed.

As the property industry digests these announcements, the focus remains on how these measures will play out in the market and their impact on various stakeholders, from landlords and renters to investors and homebuyers.