Friday, April 10th, 2015
So, the last budget before the general election has come and gone. As predicted, George Osbourne didn’t say too much that would rock the boat. In general, many of the key changes appear to benefit a spectrum of the British population in some small way or another.
I must admit, I’m not a particularly politically inclined kind of guy. I like to think I keep abreast of the ‘key issues’ that will directly affect me but alas I am ignorant (blissfully) to many of the comings and goings of parliament, even more so when it comes to local politics.
That being said, as with what appears to be the majority of the UK, I do take a keen interest when it comes to the politics of property. As i’m sure you know only too well, everyone is an ‘expert’ on property in some way or another – and why not, it may be how we earn out livelihood, it can also be pretty bloody interesting!
Last year saw stamp duty rules change, for the better, for swathes of people in most of the country. Indeed, in the hours after the chancellor made his announcement, our onveyancing company dezrezLegal were working with agents, purchasers and vendors through the night to ensure deals were done in order to catch the new stamp duty threshold. Exciting times.
Well, you can’t halt the march of time, the public expect. Stamp duty bonuses have long been forgotten and shiny new incentives for the property industry are required! Spring forward to this month’s budget and the glamorous offering of help for first time buyers in the form of the “Help to Buy” ISA. A simple cash incentive for first-time homebuyers – will be introduced in the autumn.
Hang on, the Autumn? After the general election…… ahhh I see what he did there! Bribery for the young masses!? No of course not, it’s an incentive. Get voting, you’ve got to be in it to win it as they say. Anyway I digress; the idea behind the ISA incentive being anyone who saves into one will have their cash topped up by 25 per cent when they buy a house, up to a maximum handout of £3,000. They can save up to £200 a month and get a £50 bonus each time, up to the limit. But to reach that, they’d need to save £12,000. Even with first-time buyers being allowed to start their Isa with £1,000 this autumn, it will still take them four years and seven months to be able to save £12,000 and qualify for the maximum handout.
David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “The Help to Buy Isa will help people scrape together deposits, but it fails to address the root cause of unaffordability – the chronic undersupply of homes, which has driven up prices. It also does very little for those languishing on social housing waiting lists, in temporary accommodation and the homeless – who are victims of an undersupply of affordable housing.”
My thoughts are that clearly this won’t help everyone, it won’t solve basic supply problems but people with patience will most certainly be rewarded. This does feel like something really tangible that first time buyers and probably, more importantly, those contemplating buying their own place in the next few years will feel they can benefit from. If your kid’s 16 plus, why not get saving.
As an agent I’m sure many of you will think very differently on these ‘incentives’, some positive and invariably some negative. I hope you’ll agree that if they keep our national past time ticking over, it’s all good.
Let me know your thoughts,