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Jonathan Rolande: A Prosecco rather than Champagne Autumn Statement

It wasn’t exactly a champagne statement. More like Prosecco. 

But, nevertheless, there are reasons to be cheerful in the wake of Jeremy Hunt’s speech in the Commons on Wednesday. 

He actually mentioned housing, which is more than Rishi Sunak managed in his address to the Tory Party Conference.


And some of what the Chancellor said actually made sense. 

His plans around the Local Housing Allowance for instance should be welcomed.

Rents have increased dramatically in recent years and a higher allowance means tenants will be more able to keep up with their rent payments.  That said, it may be seen by some landlords as an opportunity to push up rents even further, fuelling inflation in the sector.

The announcements around planning were not predicted and came as a surprise. Making homes easier to split makes good sense – two households in the space of one – but in reality few homes lend themselves to this kind of conversion and the cost of work can be very high. We won’t see the opportunity taken by most owners.

Payments for those near vital electricity infrastructure is a good idea, the devil will be in the detail - but a bonus payment as well as normal rights to object should placate many worried about the effect on property values.

In effect, fining Local Authorities for slow planning decisions will focus the mind, but many blame a lack of resources already – with even less money, how it works in practice will be interesting to see and only time will tell.

It was disappointing not to see Hunt use Stamp Duty in a targeted way to try and inject new life into areas of the market. And I’d have liked to have seen him present a more ambitious roadmap to getting house building going again.

But these measures are unlikely to dent confidence in a fragile market.

Despite what many people think, the run up to Christmas can be a good time for the property market. It’s true that the number of people who start looking to buy or sell reduces in the early winter months but there is good news too.

Those committed to moving will be focused on getting to the all-important completion day in time for Christmas. 

This delights estate agents and infuriates solicitors.

We shouldn’t expect the increased activity to reflect in house price data though, the rush to complete is for property sold many weeks before, new sales will be few and far between until January.

But when figures for the final quarter are released, they may show sufficient activity to have supported prices that have prevented another drop – that is about the best we can hope for as we see raise our glasses at the end year. 

Now, pass me that Prosecco…


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    We can crack open the champagne when this corrupt so called government are kicked out next year!

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    Can't wait for the next bunch of incompetents to take over, will be even worse.


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