Last month’s autumn Budget proved slightly more fruitful for the mortgage and housing industries than spring’s ‘damp squib’ but despite Philip Hammond declaring that “we can’t resolve the productivity challenge or deliver the high standard of living the British people deserve without fixing our housing market”, there was still plenty left to be desired.
While the chancellor spent much of his time trying his hand at ‘toilet humour’, lambasting the opposition and trying to make the phrase “fiscal Phil says fiscal rules, OK” make the headlines, there was little by way of interest for homebuyers, other than the news that the stamp duty abolition for first-time buyers will be extended to shared ownership properties, up to £500,000.
As is often the case with government announcements, you have to delve beneath the surface to find the whole truth, and within the pages of the Red Book we discovered that the Help to Buy scheme will be extended to 2023. This was welcomed by the industry as the scheme has helped many first-time buyers on to the property ladder; but with a definite ending in sight, the question remains as to what exactly will happen when it comes to an end.
On the first of the month, we heard that the Monetary Policy Committee had unanimously voted to hold the base rate at 0.75 per cent, which was largely expected following the August rise. Experts believe the Bank of England will wait until more is known on the Brexit stance before a further move in rates is made, but with March 2019 fast approaching, and no news on that stance yet, it almost seems hard to believe a deal will be struck in less than four months.
In this month’s issue, we also look at the leasehold scandal (page 10), reveal who has come out on top in our latest residential lenders survey (page 38), debate whether BTL lenders are right to deny mortgages to landlords intending to let to housing benefit tenants (page 18), and much more. It’s getting cold outside so get cosy and settle in for a good old-fashioned read away from your screens!