Responding to the Autumn Budget
Douglas Cochrane (pictured), head of housing development, Lloyds Banking Group
I would hope the new build landscape will feel a positive impact starting from the end of 2018 as it will take time to clarify government policy, access new funds and to physically build homes.
The changes to stamp duty in England were welcomed as a good headline, and they demonstrate an immediate and serious commitment from the government to helping people get on to the property ladder.
In the short-term it will at least benefit first-time buyers, and I’ve talked a lot to would-be buyers who have said that this will bring their aspiration of home ownership forward as their deposit will now go further.
We can’t forget however the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) comment that in the medium term, anything that stimulates demand without a corresponding increase in supply will put upward pressure on prices.
The government’s intended focus on creating the right environment to stimulate supply through infrastructure funding, land assembly and planning initiatives is welcome – particularly favouring SME house builders. But the real challenge here will be its ability to convince 326 local councils to deliver.
The focus on modern methods of construction will create greater opportunities for supply and quality challenges to be addressed through SMEs, as well as bringing new entrants and disrupters into that space. Lloyds Banking Group and other lenders are working together across the industry to identify the best way to bring this forward and we expect some developments in 2018.
It would be great to see some greater clarity on the Help to Buy equity loan beyond 2021, as uncertainty will slow building due to lack of confidence on certainty of sale.