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Autumn Statement offered little for UK's housing market, say brokers

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Brokers have damned chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement today as offering little in the way of promises to stimulate the housing market.

The allusion to 120,000 new homes was a reference to previously announced projections, while stamp duty taxes remained untouched.

Chadney Bulgin mortgage partner Jonathan Clark says: “we all knew that this statement was going to be more about cuts than spending but despite this, there was little cheer for the housing market.

“It would have been good to have seen another stamp duty holiday of some description and the promise to ‘help fund a further 120,000 further homes’ was lacking in detail.”

The Chancellor also announced an extension to the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme, due to expire next month, until March 2015.

While positive for high net worth individuals, there is disappointment that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity to either roll back stamp duty or impose a holiday.

Enness director Hugh Wade-Jones says: “I think what they should be doing is more to help people get on the property ladder in the first place.

“I would rather see a holiday up to £250,000 or even a complete break to a certain level. Although it would not directly benefit my business, I think that is really what should be done to help the economy.”

A so-called “mansion tax” on expensive properties was also entirely ruled out.

Osborne said a property tax would be “expensive”, “intrusive”, difficult to recoup and that it would be tempting for future Governments to expand the number of properties that would be caught by the tax.

In October, Prime Minister David Cameron had effectively ruled out any such tax, saying the Government had already put extra taxes on in place for when people buy expensive properties.

Business secretary Vince Cable restarted the row in November after he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show and said it was right to tax wealth and property was an obvious place to go for that.

This uncertainty surrounding this mansion tax proposal contributed to a slowdown in the £2m to £5bn property market.

Wade-Jones says: “The main problem was people not knowing where the goalposts were. This confirmation offers some kind of closure. We’ve seen a big drop over the last six to eight months between the £2m and £5m mark as people hold off to see what happens.”


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