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Jonathan Rolande: A Budget that could see the Chancellor moving out of Number 11

When the Chancellor stood up to deliver the Spring Budget on Wednesday, those of us in the property business could be forgiven for hoping, even assuming, that there would be something to boost the market. 

The market has been in a perilous state since September 2022 – thanks to the now infamous botched budget of Mr Hunt’s predecessor. 

As we all know and see on a daily basis, the UK property market is full to the brim with injustices and inequalities. 

Too many tenants are paying such high rent, they will never be able to save a deposit. 

Landlords are facing huge hikes in interest that can’t be offset against rent. 

No incentives to improve energy efficiency in tenant’s homes exist.

Downsizers face huge moving costs.

And families are having to paying enormous sums in SDLT. 1.5m empty homes and still we have property shortages and homelessness. 

The list of problems is long and can be traced back just about as far as you’d like to go. 

It’s the result of decades of mismanagement - and stimulating the market for political gain have come home to roost. 

The multiples needed to buy are getting worse year on year. The average home is now 9 times the average salary. 

In 2010 when this government was elected it was 7 times.

In 1991, when I struggled to buy a property, it was just 4 times.

Failing to reach 300,000 plus new homes annually, especially with a rapidly growing population will see this worsen. 

The only people soon able to buy a home for themselves will be the rich, those with well-off parents and those who are willing to take on ever-longer mortgage terms that will run to retirement and beyond. 

The Budget could have addressed many of these issues and many without using vast sums of taxpayer cash. 

What’s more many would have increased the tax take further. 

Why didn’t Mr Hunt increase the levy on foreign buyers to level the playing field? 

Why not tax empty property further to encourage re-use? 

Why not zero Stamp Duty for downsizers to free up much needed bedroom space for families and enliven a notoriously hard to move sector of the market? 

Why didn’t landlords get rewarded for insulating rental property – usually the most inefficient of our housing stock? 

With his second fiscal event in 100 days, Jeremy Hunt could have begun the process to undo years of unfairness. 

Doing so might have also saved many a Tory seat. 

Why he didn’t do so is a mystery to me and I suspect, many property professionals reading this. 

Perhaps he simply didn’t see housing, such a basic human requirement, as a priority. 

He may face a heavy price at the polls.



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