Homeownership - a reality for all?

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Following statements from the Autumn Budget 2017, we look at the impact for first-time buyers and the over 65s

The dream of homeownership is a reality for all generations,’ was one of the main features in the Autumn Budget 2017 announced on Wednesday 22nd November. But what does this mean for those looking to buy their first home? And what will it mean for those who already own homes? 

The news of the abolishment of Stamp Duty and Land Tax (SDLT) is good news all round for those looking to get on the property ladder for the first time. SDLT has been eliminated, effective immediately, on purchases of up to £300,000 outside of London, or an exemption from Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of a property’s value inside London, up to a total property value of £500,000. This means that as a first-time buyer, you can now save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, which can be put towards a deposit and ease the burden of many of the huge upfront costs. 

This move comes as a promise that a wide-ranging package will boost housebuilding – equating to a target of an annual 300,000 homes built by the middle of the next decade. The government is investing £44bn of capital investment for new housing projects which should, in theory, boost the housing market. However, with projects falling short in the past, this is an area that will have to be watched closely.   

However, as the older generations and the over 65s make up a huge proportion of the property market, there are concerns surrounding how they will be affected. 

Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audely Group, commented: “Cutting stamp duty for first-time buyers will save them thousands of pounds on the purchase of their first homes and will remove one of the many barriers in the purchase market against consistently rising house prices. But the focus on the bottom end of the market alone is a blinkered focus and continues to ignore where much of the greatest potential in the market sits: the over 65s.”

 “It is predicted that by 2037 there will be a 70% increase in the over 65 age group, yet the UK’s housing market is nowhere near prepared to meet the growing demand from first-time buyers, let alone to deliver retirement properties.”

Nick continued: “Commitment to house building is welcome but not every first-time buyer wants to move into a new build and stamp duty exemptions to help older buyers downsize would be far more cost neutral in the long term. Two in five UK homes are under-occupied, of which half are occupied by those aged 50 to 69, in the main due to lack of quality accommodation for them to move into.”

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