No sooner had our article gone to print about what the budget had in store for not just those involved in property, but the self-employed and small businesses, than the chancellor had backed down from the increase in National Insurance contributions for self-employed people. As stated last week, it seemed like the conservative party were not only going against their manifesto pledge, but making a move that would upset core Tory voters.
Much has been made of this U-turn being a failure and embarrassing for the government, but that we don't see more changes of policy due to public opinion is rather an indication of the typical stubbornness of governments. For the almost 5 million self-employed people in the UK, it's certainly a welcome change of heart.
Is there a chance then that the government might be listening about the property market? No need for sudden U-turns just yet, as stability is really what we are looking for. Hammond now has until November to devise a sensible strategy for the next budget. Homeowners and landlords are patient folks, so if the chancellor was to indicate that they are reviewing stamp duty this could be a positive step.
It's not just homeowners and landlords that are affected by the current stamp duty and mortgage relief changes, but also other businesses; think about kitchen companies, builders, carpet fitters and all the rest of the people that are involved when homes do change hands.
The first time buyer market is continuing to thrive, particularly new homes, which is in part due to the important assistance that the government introduced with Help to Buy and so on. The international market is also buoyant for us, we have a trip to Calabria this week with people from as far as New York and Asia, and everywhere in between!
We need the government to take action in the prime London market, and are pleased to see that they have been receptive to feedback about the national insurance increase, and encourage them now to start thinking about a longer term strategy for stamp duty. A 'holiday' in stamp duty for those who are looking to downsize, plus a normalisation of the higher rates of stamp duty to (5%) are both measures that would stimulate the London housing market and boost the economy surrounding property that we discussed earlier.