Countrywide comments on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Commenting on Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement, Grenville Turner, Chief Executive of Countrywide, which operates the UK's largest estate agency and lettings network, said:

"It is widely acknowledged that a healthy housing sector is crucial to the UK economy and working with the housing industry needs to be at the forefront of the Government's agenda. 

We welcome the Chancellor's pledge to build more houses which are needed given the predictions that by the end of 2012, there will be 400,000 more households in the UK than there has been housing built. We have been calling for some time now that more houses at the right price are needed in the right places so that people can buy at a price they can afford and in a location they want to live in.

However, the shortage of housing is not the only issue as lack of supply coupled with lending issues is creating a perfect storm. We have been calling for some time now for the Government to set out a clear strategy for housing with the aim being to reduce volatility in the housing market.

"Our YouGov survey in November 2012 showed that nearly half (45%) of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds cited deposit affordability as a barrier to buying a property at this time. The Government should do more to encourage all lenders, not just state-backed lenders, to set lending targets. This would help buyers with the introduction of higher loan-to-value mortgage products and enable those with sufficient income and a deposit of 10% or even 5% to buy a property.

"We agree with Boris Johnson's recent comments about cutting Stamp Duty in order to help first-time buyers, and have been urging Government for some time now to scrap Stamp Duty for all properties sub £250,000. This would have a small impact on tax receipts as only 13% of Stamp Duty comes from properties worth less than £250,000* and would be key to increasing activity in the housing market if first-time buyers could get on the property ladder."


*Source - Council of Mortgage Lenders.

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