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Our representation to HM Treasury ahead of Autumn Budget

Friday 12 October 2018

We've submitted our representation to HM Treasury ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond's 2018 Autumn Budget announcement, which is expected towards the end of October.

In our submission, we outline obstacles faced by the sector, and put forward policy suggestions we would like to see the Chancellor address as part of the upcoming fiscal announcement.

We ask that Government consider stamp duty exemption for over-65's wanting to downsize, or offer incentives to encourage them to move, to free up valuable housing stock for larger families.

Under-occupancy is a key housing challenge faced by Government, with 16.1 million households (69 per cent of the total) under occupied, according to our Housing 2025 reportand by making it easier for older people to sell their homes, it will free up family-sized homes for the next generation, giving housing supply a much needed boost. 

A further barrier that needs addressing is the availability of suitable housing in areas older people want to re-locate to. In their Retirement Housing Market Update, Knight Frank found that the UK currently has only 162,000 privately owned retirement properties, making up just 0.6 per cent of all housing stock. Therefore, any tax exemption for downsizers must be combined with a programme of housing building for older people. 

We call upon the Government to reconsider recent tax changes and scrap the three per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge on additional homes and buy-to-let properties. The move has disadvantaged buyers purchasing properties with the help of Guarantor Mortgages, where a mortgage is typically guaranteed by a homeowner to help a first-time buyer onto the property ladder, as well as homeowners who must purchase a new main residence before sale completion of their previous property.

We want to see the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and ISA extended beyond 2021. The scheme has made property purchase more accessible and we urge the Government to consider extending the equity loan scheme to the purchase of pre-owned properties also.

Bringing an end to poor leasehold practices is something NAEA Propertymark have long lobbied for, and is an issue we feel the Chancellor should continue to review to ensure developers remedy cases where existing leaseholders have been subject to onerous clauses. Our recent report, Leasehold: A Life Sentence? highlighted the consequence of such resulted in down valuing of properties and homeowners struggling to sell or remortgage their homes. 

We also urge the Government to introduce a strong approach to enforcement and prosecution for non-compliance of Money Laundering Regulations 2017. They should ensure two things; firstly, that prosecution and penalties act as deterrents to non-compliance, and secondly, that fines and penalties are made public for each sector under supervision. We expect that stronger enforcement will increase the number of quality Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), furthering the Government’s aim to crack down on criminal financing practices.

Making changes to the house buying process is also essential. The current house buying process hasn’t changed for many years and is now not fit for purpose/inadequate. For example, an issue as small as a missing piece of paperwork can set back a transaction by a substantial period or even cause the sale to fall through. To cut down the number of failed property transactions and speed up the process of property buying and selling, we propose the Government look to introduce a digital property log-book, allowing for a more interactive, streamlined and transparent process for both home buyers and sellers. 

Read our full submission