The Chancellor said a great deal about the need to stimulate supply in the housing market and introduced a raft of changes and new initiatives.
This included an extension to the first-time buyer relief from stamp duty land tax. There were also restrictions to the CGT relief applying on the sale of residential properties where owners move out before a sale takes place, and restrictions to the CGT lettings relief. There is also to be consultation on an increase in SDLT for non-residents buying residential property in England and Wales.
The Government is also to look at perceived abuse of the business rates and council tax rules for self-catering and holiday let accommodation, an important commercial activity in parts of our region.
Mr Hammond said the Government was “determined to fix the broken housing market”. A cocktail of measures was introduced, including a continuation of the Help to Buy scheme but in a more targeted form. This includes the Affordable Homes Programme (announced in September 2018).
The CGT changes are largely unwelcome news in a region where the housing market often moves more slowly. Overall, the feeling prevails that the changes and initiatives announced recently and today constitute a series of sticking plasters applied to a long term problem, rather than a real joined up strategy to solve a problem which is fundamental to the integrity of our society.