Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed his move to eliminate stamp duty for first-time buyers on the first £300,000 on properties costing up to £500,000 would make a real difference to young people with a pledge that ‘dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again’.
However, The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expressed the first concerns over the stamp duty change, implying the main beneficiaries would be current homeowners, not first-time buyers, because it predicted that house prices would rise by 0.3% within a year as a result.
But Highwood Group, which is currently developing a series of landmark residential property sites in the south, including the high profile North Stoneham Park scheme at Eastleigh, near Southampton, which is likely to draw substantial interest from first-time buyers, has backed the Chancellor’s move.
‘The volume of properties that Highwood is currently building is bridging a vital gap for new homes and many local councils’ housing shortfall,’ explained Simon Beech, Land and Sales Director at Highwood Group. ‘Without doubt, it is first-time buyers looking for good quality, affordable homes who are expressing the most interest in our region. Coupled with the attraction and availability of funds and savings that can be achieved thanks to the government’s Help to Buy scheme and we’re convinced the stamp duty cut will signal a new era for first-time buyers.’
The new stamp duty policy, which is set to cost the Treasury £3.2bn over the next five years, is also likely to make the biggest difference to those in Highwood’s catchment as Tom Selby, Senior Analyst at AJ Bell suggested the impact would be felt disproportionately in the south of England as house prices are higher here and bigger savings can be made.
Money Expert, one of the UK’s leading comparison sites, backs Highwood’s stance, believing the stamp duty reforms will result in some ‘95% of first-time buyers benefitting’. With further budget iniatives, such as private home building which will receive £8bn of financial support, £2.7bn fund for housing infrastructure and a further £1.1bn investment in urban regeneration on strategic sites and £400m for housing estates, Highwood is convinced the time for first-time buyers to exploit the government’s new incentives is here at last.