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Sun September 20 2020

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Autumn Statement | house-builders happy with first time buyer boost

30 Nov 11 House-builders were pleased with the boost given to first time buyers by Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

Glenn Allison, group managing director at Stewart Milne, said: “We welcome the introduction of a new build indemnity scheme to increase the supply of affordable mortgage finance for new build homes. This can only be good news for younger people who need to get onto the housing ladder.

“This is also good news for our customers in North West England and, like the FirstBuy Direct scheme, we would urge the Scottish Government to introduce the same measures.

“However, given the continuing first time buyer demand, 100,000 buyers is only a drop in the ocean – ultimately, lending needs to be increased if we are to see a real impact. We know from the popularity of our first time buyer product that there are many young people out there who are keen to buy and that the availability and affordability of mortgages is the main blocker to their plans.”

Paul Moore, managing director of Southdale, said: “If the Chancellor’s plans for housing and construction come to fruition, then it has the potential to prove a massive boost for the industry, for employment within the sector and all related businesses.

“The reinvigoration of Right to Buy, with the ‘receipts’ being ploughed into further new homes, plus a mortgage indemnity scheme to help 100,000 people to buy with 5% deposits all adds up to a big promise to the sector and one which could make a huge difference to the nation as a whole.”

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However, the Government could have gone further to help SME house-builders, said the Federation of Master Builders.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs, said: “The Government is in a very tight financial position but there are a number of measures that the Chancellor could have taken today which would have had significant economic benefits for little, if any direct cost, by extending existing policies and delaying the introduction of others.

“In addition to making more credit available at reasonable rates, as they have already committed to doing, the Government should have extended the stamp duty holiday for first time buyers for property transactions under £250,000 which expires in April to help get the housing market moving again.

“It could also have reduced the burdens on  SME house builders by providing a blanket exemption from the soon to be implemented Community Infrastructure Levy which will add around £43,000 to the cost of a building a two bedroom house in some parts of the country.

“The Government also missed an opportunity to delay implementation of its ‘zero carbon homes’ policy until the housing market has recovered sufficiently to support the extra costs.”

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