With Chancellor Philip Hammond signalling an end to austerity, what does the Autumn Budget mean for buyers in the capital? We take a look at the key points from this recent announcement.
1. Help to Buy extension
Help to Buy has been a major success since its inception in 2013, with nearly 170,000 properties bought using the government scheme. Help to Buy London was launched in 2016, offering buyers a higher 40% contribution for properties in the capital.
The Chancellor announced on Monday that the scheme will be extended to 2023, with some changes to availability from April 2021. Firstly, in order to bring more benefit specifically to first-time buyers, Help to Buy will no longer be open to applicants who have previously purchased a property.
Secondly, new price caps will be introduced for different regions, based on the forecast average first time buyer price in that area. For example, under the reforms, Help to Buy will be available on homes in the South East of England with a value up to £437,600. The London price cap will remain at £600,000.
2. Stamp duty exemption for shared ownership
Stamp duty exemption has also helped many first time buyers afford their first home. With no duty to pay for the first £300,000 of any property up to the value of £500,000, buyers have been able to save thousands.
The amends announced by Mr Hammond address an anomaly in the legislation that stopped first time buyers of shared ownership properties from benefitting. Any buyer of a Shared Ownership home since the last budget (November 2017) can now apply for refunds from the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office.
3. New measures to boost house building
The Government also announced further support for housebuilders in the new budget, including a £653 million plan for 13,000 extra new homes to be built across England. Up to £1bn was also allocated for British Business Bank Guarantees for small- to medium-sized housebuilders, providing an extra boost to the number of new homes being built.
Other initiative for addressing the need for more housing included funding for 500 neighbourhoods to allocate land for housing. Those properties would then be sold at a discount to local people. Caps on borrowing for local authorities have also been removed, opening the way for more social housing to be created in the capital.