Property Professionals Await Chancellor’s Spring Budget for Housing Market Stimulus

With anticipation building towards the Spring Budget announcement next month, property professionals across the UK are eager to see if Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil new incentives to invigorate the housing market. A significant number of these experts are hoping for measures that will specifically support the new build sector and assist first-time buyers.

During a webinar organised by Countrywide Surveying Services (CSS), a survey revealed that over a third (35%) of property professionals are advocating for the reintroduction of the Help to Buy scheme or similar government-led initiatives aimed at bolstering first-time buyer and new build market segments. Additionally, 22% of the participants are calling for a stamp duty holiday or reduction, while others seek cuts in inheritance tax (17%), adjustments in stamp duty for downsizers (16%), and more support for landlords (10%).

The sentiment regarding the 2024 UK property market remains cautiously optimistic among these professionals. Forty-one percent of respondents expressed optimism, with an equal proportion indicating a tentative optimism. Thirteen percent were unsure about market prospects, and a small fraction (5%) felt there was probably not much cause for optimism. Remarkably, none of the respondents outrightly dismissed the possibility of positive developments in the UK property market over the next 12 months.

Another poll during the webinar addressed the potential impact of a Labour victory in the forthcoming general election on housing priorities. The majority (43%) believe an increase in social housing supply should be the top priority, followed by improved planning processes to boost housing supply (13%), and support for first-time buyers and enhanced tenant protection against no-fault evictions (each at 11%).

These insights emerged from CSS’s regular webinar series, which attracts a diverse audience of lenders, brokers, surveyors, and other property industry stakeholders. The panel featured notable figures such as Graham Sellar from Santander UK, Rob Stevens of Nationwide Building Society, Timothy Bannister from Rightmove, and Kate Faulkner, chair of the Home Buying & Selling Group, with Martyn Stones of Countrywide Surveying Services moderating the event.

Stones reflected on the findings, highlighting the industry’s call for government action to address the challenges facing first-time buyers and the broader issue of housing supply affordability. He underscored the potential impact of the upcoming budget on the housing and mortgage markets, expressing interest in whether the suggested measures will be implemented and their effects over time.

As the Spring Budget approaches, the property sector remains watchful, hoping for strategic interventions that could unlock opportunities for buyers and stimulate market activity.