James Allen, head of Walker Crips Alternative Investments, comments on the property announcements in the Budget statement:
“The Chancellor reaffirms his commitment to get average house building numbers up to 300,000 per annum and realises that this cannot be achieved by the major housebuilders alone. His commitment to support SME housebuilders, lift the borrowing cap on councils that have high house building needs and fund training in the construction industry provides a three pronged attack which, for the first time in decades, actually has the chance of succeeding in delivering the housing stock the country needs.
“This is an example of practicality trumping ideology and should be supported by the vast majority of the population. Following his promised reform of the planning system, if he could also address the non-implementation of planning approval by developers I would predict his 300,000 new build target would be met.
“Abolishing stamp duty on the first £300,000 spend by any first time buyer is a welcome help to those looking to get onto the housing ladder, but it does not address the real issue which is affordability. There are many brownfield sites in London that could produce studio flats which would attract no stamp duty after this latest announcement from the Chancellor.
“Many of these sites have had planning for years (having to be renewed every three years), but are still to be developed. If developers were not allowed to renew planning but instead had to sell the site if their planning lapsed, we would see a vast reduction in the gap between planning approvals and delivery of new housing stock.
“The Chancellor should heed his own advice when he said there was not one magic bullet to solve the housing crisis and he should now turn his focus onto the implementation of planning approvals.”