Autumn Statement 2023: a review

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In the aftermath of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent Autumn Statement, the property market appears somewhat deflated. Unfortunately, the Chancellor’s address lacked specific measures targeted at reinvigorating the property market, leaving many anticipated reforms unaddressed. Both the much-awaited Stamp Duty incentives and the confirmation regarding the Renters’ Reform Bill’s Section 21 abolishment were notably absent from the statement.

The significance of downsizers in unlocking the property market cannot be overstated. High Stamp Duty costs often keep them stuck in larger homes. This means constrained available property stock, maintaining elevated prices, and limiting options for first-time buyers. We, alongside so many others, were hoping for a Stamp Duty incentive to encourage downsizers to move, helping everyone in the market because it would stimulate movement. But, sadly, the Autumn Statement didn’t include this, and it’s a letdown given the slower market.

Landlords find themselves in stuck in a state of uncertainty, as the statement offered no mention of tax relief or support measures directed toward their circumstances.

But, it’s not all bad news! There were a couple of positive things in the announcement. They’re focused on helping families struggling with living costs and aiming to boost the UK economy’s growth.

At Sims Williams Estate Agency, we’re staying hopeful. While the news might not be as great as we’d hoped, there are still bright spots. We’re keeping an eye out for any new developments and staying ready to help our clients navigate through these changes in the property market. Don’t worry, there’s always a way forward, and we’re here to help you find it.

The key takeaways from yesterday’s Autumn Statement 

  • Starting next year, both employed and self-employed workers will benefit from lower National Insurance rates, resulting in significant savings for millions of individuals. For example, the average salary of £35,000 per year will be around £450 better off.
  • The state pension will increase by 8.5% in April 2024 under the triple lock system.
  • Increase by 6.7% in Benefits, including Universal Credit, will start from April 2024.
  • Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be updated next year to provide more help with housing costs to some private renters that receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Hunt has made a commitment to raise the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile of local market rents, providing an average of £800 in support to 1.6 million households next year.
  • Stricter sanctions may be imposed on Universal Credit claimants who fail to adhere to new work search regulations in order to combat “benefit cheats” and increase employment rates.
  • The National Living wage will go up from £10.42 an hour to £11.44 an hour. This new rate will apply to all workers aged 21 and over.
  • A number of changes to ISA rules are coming for savers. Among them is the ability to contribute to multiple ISAs of the same type each tax year, as well as the option to make partial transfers of ISA funds without regard to when the initial payment was made.
  • The Government’s guarantee scheme for lenders is being extended, which suggests that 5% deposit mortgages are here to stay.
  • Savers may soon have the option to have new employers contribute to their existing pension pots, thanks to a potential new policy. The government is reviewing the idea of granting savers the legal right to receive new employer contributions into their current pension pots. According to the Chancellor, this could lead to the creation of a “pension pot for life”.

Looking ahead

Yesterday had the potential to give our property market a boost, but it missed the mark despite the better economic situation. Many of us were hoping for something that would really fire up the UK housing market, like new incentives to encourage more people to buy and move homes.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom! We were happy about the extension of the mortgage guarantee scheme. This is good news because it helps more people get into the housing market, especially those buying their first homes. Since it started in April 2021, this scheme has supported nearly 38,000 households, mostly first-time buyers. Plus, with interest rates for mortgages going down, it’s a win for new homebuyers.

Also, something to cheer about is changes in the planning laws. If getting planning permission takes too long, applicants will now get their money back. What’s more, houses can now be turned into two flats without needing planning permission if the outside stays the same.

Let’s not forget about the change of Local Housing Allowance rates. This helps tenants who were struggling because rents were going up too fast.

It’s good to take a moment to see the brighter side: our economy is doing better, incomes are up, and inflation is down. Compared to other places, we’re doing pretty well.

Looking forward, we’re hopeful for more good news in the Spring. We’d love to see incentives for Stamp Duty, support for landlords, and clear updates about Inheritance Tax. At Sims Williams Estate Agency, we’re keeping an eye on things and staying ready to help our clients through these changes in the property market.

At Sims Williams, we take pride in our commitment to providing honest and accurate property valuations. We’re dedicated to serving our local communities with integrity and transparency. We’re here to assist you in making the most informed decisions regarding your property.

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