John Eastgate, managing director of property finance at Shawbrook Bank, has shared three things he would like to see from the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget.
Firstly, rethinking the planning process, he said that after being promised the biggest shake-up to the property market for a generation, expected changes to the planning process have since been scrapped leaving the door open for a revised approach from the new Housing Minister.
He added: “It’s nothing new to say that the UK has a chronic lack of housing, the government must make it easier for smaller developers, and individuals, to build on viable land in order to meet current demands.”
Eastgate said that a crucial part of this, and what he would like to see from the Chancellor, is a commitment to supporting the long overdue changes to the planning process.
The property market can have a key role to play in the government’s levelling up agenda, but only if it is given the right tools to do so, he added.
As well as this, Eastgate explained the importance of establishing new green incentives, he said: “Many landlords or property investors will be aware of recent changes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) legislation which means that all properties must reach a rating of ‘C’ or above in order to be let by 2025.”
He believes there has been a lack of guidance on how this can be achieved in practice and added that while new houses can be built with these regulations in mind, the reality is that a large amount of our current housing stock is over a century old.
The recent announcement that homeowners will be given a £5,000 grant to replace their boiler with an air source heat pump is one example of how the government is taking green steps.
He added: “To fully support landlords, investors and homeowners the government must establish a new fit for purpose set of green incentives that encourage people to transition to more sustainable and energy efficient ways of heating their home or making improvements to a property, with practical guidance on how it will be achieved.”
Eastgate’s final point is that he would like to see cuts to inheritance tax for downsizers.
He concluded: “Although the government haven’t outwardly raised the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold in recent years, the rapid growth in house prices has left more homeowners at risk of breaching the £325,000 tax-free allowance when they pass on their estate.”
Introducing a cut to inheritance tax for those looking to downsize would help the property market twofold, he added.
“As well as incentivising large homeowners to move into more manageable properties, freeing up bigger family homes across the market to help younger generations, it would also allow families to hold on to more of their accrued wealth and pass on to loved ones, so they too can build a deposit to buy their own home”, concluded Eastgate.