This afternoon UK Chancellor George Osborne announced his Budget, with a positive boost for first time buyers and relaxed planning laws across Great Britain. During his hour-long speech, the Chancellor explained: "Today's Budget is about reforming the nation's economy so that we can have enduring jobs and growth in the future, doing what we can to protect families from the high cost of living."
First time homeowners in the UK purchasing new-build properties will now benefit from the Firstbuy Programme; a government-funded initiative which will mobilise £250m to assist over 10,000 households.
Robin King, Director of property services specialist Move with Us concluded: “The more money that the government can encourage to be pumped into the property market the better for all of us. Introducing the Firstbuy direct scheme is a step closer to reducing the first-time buyer crisis and should ultimately help to stimulate the housing market.”
The UK government has also pledged to reform the stamp duty land tax rules applied to bulk purchases in an effort to enhance demand for residential property. Chief Economist of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Simon Rubinsohn explains: “Changes to REITs and stamp duty will help encourage large investors including pension funds into the sector providing a revolution in how rented homes are supplied. Changes to these systems will lead to more high quality properties which are a genuine alternative to owning a home.”
A number of changes will also be made to the UK planning laws; steps will be taken to streamline planning applications, speeding up the system with a one year guarantee for the processing of all applications; a fast-track system will be put in place for all major infrastructure applications; and planning applications for sustainable developments will be considered under the revised presumption of ‘yes’.
President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Ruth Reed commented: “The 2011 budget recognises the role of the construction industry and new development in stimulating economic growth. The RIBA welcomes the potential for streamlining the planning system and for promoting development in enterprise zones provided that they are achieved in a framework that protects the essential requirements of sustainability and good design.”