As if by magic Budget time is almost upon us once more and the political elite, (ha ha “elite”, I made myself laugh then), are gearing up for the usual playground antics and point scoring that envelops such an event.
With an election on the horizon this has even more significance and it will be interesting to see if there is anything particularly radical in store.
Stamp Duty is of course on the agenda again with the campaign for reform gaining momentum with RICS and ACCA calling for the same changes many of us have been banging on about for a while – end the “slab” and stage it like income tax.
Whether or not Georgy-Boy will do anything here finally remains to be seen, especially as he has also let slip, (a trend he has developed before all his budget speeches), that he is extending the Help To Buy 1 Equity Loan Scheme for another 4 years. This is the part available on new build properties only. (You can read about the differences here).
With almost 15,000 properties purchased using the scheme since April last year, according to Knight Frank, what is interesting is where the scheme has actually been used, with Leeds leading the way whilst London represents just 7%.
In January some 2,000 mortgages in conjunction with Help To Buy 1 were granted, down slightly on the average of 2,500 in the last 3 months of last year.
With an extra £200m promised to support 15,000 new homes, they are finally getting some decent cash in from stamp duty as transactions and property prices increase. Anything he does further that looks as if it is stimulating a, what some people term an “overheating” housing market in London and the South East, will be seized upon and add further pressure on him to perhaps scrap Help To Buy 2.
Wednesday may be very interesting indeed.