The Chancellor has announced his Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015, which includes a doubling of the housing budget and builds on current plans to increase (and speed up) house building and assist those wishing to buy their own homes.
Current restrictions on Shared Ownership housing are to be removed – another nod to ‘Generation Buy’ - by introducing 'Help to Buy Shared Ownership' homes, As things currently stand, each authority is able to set its own eligibility criteria for being able to acquire a Shared Ownership Home. The government intends to remove these ‘extra’ criteria so that the option is open to any household earning less that £80k/annum outside London, or £90k/annum in London.
Of the 400,000 affordable new homes the government wishes to see built by 2021, 200,000 will be Starter Homes, 135,000 will be Help to Buy Shared Ownership homes, 10,000 will be Rent to Buy (subject to a reduced rent for a period of five years to enable tenants to build up a deposit), and 8,000 will be specialist homes for older or disabled people.
We were interested to see a proposal to adopt a standardised approach to viability assessments in s106 agreements – this is an area that often takes the most time when negotiating planning agreements and, depending on the approach taken of course, could really help to speed up the decision making process.
Less promising news for some will be the introduction of a 3% premium on stamp duty for buy-to-let investors and those buying second homes, to be introduced from 1 April 2016.