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ICYMI: What agents need to know from the Autumn Statement

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s a summary of everything relating to property that was in Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Statement:

- a ban on letting agents’ fees “as soon as possible” (widely believed to mean that there will be a consultation period);

- a £1.4 billion funding injection aimed at funding the construction of around 40,000 additional affordable homes by 2020/21;


- a £2.3 billion fund to “unlock land” for housing in areas of highest demand with the most expensive homes;

- planning regulations to be relaxed to allow what the Chancellor called “providers’ to build a wider range of new-build homes;

- specifically for London, an additional £3 billion for a predicted 90,000 affordable homes;

- a Housing White Paper produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government “in the near future” (which commentators believe indicates that it may be early next year rather than, as anticipated, before Christmas);

- a review into general incorporation processes and tax paid as a result: no details were given, but this may be a challenge to landlords setting up companies to combat the restrictions on mortgage interest tax relief being introduced from April 2017;

- a “large-scale regional pilot of Right to Buy for housing association tenants”;

- continued support for home ownership through the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme and the Help to Buy ISA”;

- there were no references to Stamp Duty or George Osborne’s Buy To Let tax changes outlined in recent years, suggesting these remain unchanged.

Key quotes from Phillip Hammond:

“In the private rental market, letting agents are currently able to charge unregulated fees to tenants. We have seen these fees spiral, often to hundreds of pounds. This is wrong. Landlords appoint letting agents and landlords should meet their fees. So I can announce today that we will ban fees to tenants as soon as possible”

“Families rely on roads, rail, telecoms – and, especially housing. We have made good progress, with the number of new homes being built last year hitting an eight-year high. But for too many, the goal of home ownership remains out of reach”

“The challenge of delivering the housing we so desperately need in the places where it is currently least affordable is not a new one…But the effect of unaffordable housing on our nation’s productivity makes it an urgent one. The Communities Secretary will bring forward a Housing White Paper in due course, addressing these long-term challenges”

“This package [of housing measures] means that over the course of this Parliament, the government expects to more than double, in real terms, annual capital spending on housing. Coupled with our resolve to tackle the long term challenges of land supply, this commitment to housing delivery represents a step-change in our ambition to increase the supply of homes for sale and for rent, to deliver a housing market that works for everyone.”


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