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Spring Budget 2024: all the housing and property announcements from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

There were hopes that the Spring Budget 2024 could bring new schemes to help first-time buyers and surprising tax cuts.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised that “building homes for young people” is a priority in his speech.But anyone hoping for the much trailed 99 per cent mortgage scheme, stamp duty relief for downsizers, or a Lifetime ISA penalty repeal to help London’s first-time buyers will go home empty handed.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Instead of relief from stamp duty, the government promised to abolish stamp duty relief.

Multiple Dwellings Relief, which was introduced to those buying more than one house in a single transaction, has been taken away.

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Intended to support investment in the private rented sector, Hunt said an external evaluation found "it was being regularly abused".

But Camilla Dell, founder of Black Brick, called the move “shortsighted”.

“Many of our buy-to-let clients purchase sic or more properties and benefit from lower rates of SDLT as a result,” said Dell.

“They are providing much needed rental supply into the market and without this tax break it is yet another deterrent towards investment into the private rental sector. Not good news for tenants as fewer andlords results in higher rents.”

Other industry members called out the government for a lack of action on stamp duty/

“This is a very disappointing Budget for the property sector,” said Rob Houghton, CEO of Reallymoving.

“Making the £425,000 stamp duty threshold permanent for first-time buyers was surely an obvious move, but despite the serious challenges they face in terms of affordability and upfront costs, needing to raise over £25,500 on average to buy a first home, no helping hand has been offered to them and the higher threshold remains in place temporarily until next spring.”

“The failure to permanently act on stamp duty is a missed opportunity for the government to stabilise the fragile recovery that we’ve seen in the housing market so far in 2024,” said Sam Mitchell, CEO of Purplebricks.

“Jeremy Hunt should’ve acted now or not at all. Rumours will continue to build of cuts or increased stamp duty holidays, as they did following the Autumn Statement, which could wrongly and unnecessarily delay buying and selling decisions.,” he added.

“The lack of a concrete decision leaves the market at a standstill, which is particularly damaging for first-time buyers looking to enter the market.”

Downsizers who could free up larger homes for younger families may also continue to be put off moving.

“Whether a reduction or freeze, this would have been a great initiative to free up much needed stock at the top end of the market,” said Liam Monaghan of prime London buying agency London Central Portfolio

“It is not just a demand problem, it is a supply issue too. Downsizers are sitting on a number of much-needed family homes. The Government could have made a real difference here, so it’s such a shame that they haven’t.”

Non-dom tax status abolished

Hunt has promised to replace the current tax regime for non-domiciled people who live in the UK and pay tax on UK earnings, while maintaining a main home overseas.

The move is one that may cause consternation in London's prime property sector, who rely on overseas investment to sell the capital's most expensive homes.

"The Government will abolish the current tax system for non-doms, get rid of the outdated concept of domicile and the remittance basis in the tax system, and replace it with a modern, simpler and fairer residency-based system," said Hunt.

As of April 2025, new arrivals won't be asked to pay tax on foreign income for four years. If they continue to reside here, they will "pay the same tax as other UK residents.

Hunt called it "a more generous regime than at present and one of the most attractive offers in Europe" and estimated it would raise £2.7 billion for the UK economy.

Monaghan said that abolishing non-dom tax status would not put off all all overseas investors.

“International buyers coming to London and buying a second/holiday home are likely to have a strong presence around the other key global cities and may not be adversely affected by this,” he said.

But Richard Godmon, tax partner at strategic advisors Menzies, warned that financial services workers could be lured to other countries.

“Firms, especially in the City, are already facing intense competition in the race for global top talent, and the non-dom tax status has thus far been a powerful incentive to work in the UK.”

Capital gains tax

Hunt announced that the higher rate of property capital gains tax will be reduced from 28 per cent to 24 per cent.

“This will encourage landlords and second home-owners to sell their properties, making more available for a variety of buyers including those looking to get on the housing ladder for the first time,” the budget documents said.

Capital gains tax is paid on the profit made by the value gained by an asset — such as a house — when you sell it.

Hunt said the Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility “have concluded that if we reduced the higher 28 per cent rate that exists for residential property, we would in fact increase revenues because there would be more transactions” and so would go ahead with the four per cent tax cut.

“The reduction in capital gains tax upon the sale of property is certainly to be welcomed and is likely to release more stock to the market in the coming months and years,” said Edward Heaton, founder of buying agency Heaton & Partners.However, not everyone welcomed the move.

“Is there going to be a flurry of sales from landlords because they will make a saving on capital gains tax? No, they are in it for long-term gain, capital appreciation combined with income yield.,” said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.

“Of course, that yield has been hit hard with higher interest rates and more regulation, as well as the inability to offset mortgage interest but professional landlords are committed and not going to start selling because of a slight reduction in cpital gains tax,” he added.

“Perhaps with rents so high the last thing we need is a reduction in homes to rent anyway?”

Regeneration schemes

Two regeneration schemes in London have already been highlighted in the Spring Budget.

Hunt promised to transform Barking Riverside and Canary Wharf with £242 million of investment.

The Chancellor said this would create 7,200 new homes in Barking and 350 homes in Canary Wharf.

Barking Riverside is one of London’s largest micro towns planed for the city. A total of 10,800 homes will be delivered, with 5,400 left to build. Half of the homes at Barking Riverside have been designated as affordable.

As one of Europe’s largest brownfield regeneration projects, it will see a disused power station transformed into a Thameside town running along 2km of the river.

The housing association-cum-developer L&Q is in partnership with the Mayor of London and Barking Riverside Limited.

Hunt’s budget also celebrated the newly established Euston Housing Delivery Group, promising £4 million of funding for the delivery of 10,000 homes on the site that was earmarked for the scapped HS2 terminus station.A further £20 million of funding was earmarked for “social finance” to build 3,000 new homes via local community groups.

Short-term rental crackdown

Hunt used the budget to address concerns that there are not enough properties available for long-term rentals because homes are being let out to tourists a night or two at a time.

The Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime "is creating a distortion meaning that there are not enough properties available for long term rental by local people" he said in the budget.

These laws allowed landlords to deduct the full cost of mortgage interest payments from their rental income and pay lower capital gains tax if they sold up."To make the tax system work better for local communities, I am going to abolish the Furnished Holiday Lettings regime."

Scrapping it will raised £300m, says the Chancellor. Westminster council has been campaigning for such a change after receiving 30 complaints a week from residents. There are an estimated 12,000 short-term lets in Westminster, making it the most saturated area in the country for rentals.

However, there are fears that a loophole may allow landlords to take advantage of an amnesty period to automatically reclassify thousands of homes as short term lets.

No change to Lifetime ISA cap

There had been hopes from some quarters that the Lifetime ISA (LISA) cap for first-time buyers would be lifted. But it was not to be.

Martin Lewis, who has been campaigning to remove the penalty, said the Chancellor had told him why it wasn't included in this budget.

"I wanted to do a big home ownership package but that doesn’t work until property prices are definitely rising and I still have to keep an eye on overall borrowing," Hunt told Lewis.

"I want to do more than remove the penalty. I want to reform LISAs."

Currently people can save up to £4,000 a year and recieve at £1,000 top-up from the government, plus interest. However, it can only be withdrawn to pay for a first home costing less than £450,000. Otherwise there's a 25 per cent penalty.

For people looking to get on the London property ladder, where the average home costs well above that limit, the LISA remains a gamble when it comes to saving for a deposit.

No 99 per cent mortgage

There had been leaks that the Chancellor was considering a government-backed 99 per cent mortgage scheme.

Aimed at first-time buyers, it would have allowed people to put down a deposit of just one per cent when buying a house.

The idea was widely panned when it first hit the press. Writing for the Evening Standard, former government advisor Ben Ramanauskas called it “one of the very worst policies of any government ever”.