How will the spring budget impact the UK housing market?
The Spring UK Budget is an eagerly anticipated event in the UK, as it allows our Government to set out its plans for the country's economic growth and development.
The Budget was expected to significantly impact everyday life, including taxation, public spending, and the housing market. However, there needs to be a more direct focus on the housing market.
In recent years, there has been a particular interest in how the UK Budget will address issues such as the ongoing pandemic, climate change, the costs of living crisis and the economy's recovery.
In the 2023 Spring Budget, Jeremy Hunt announced the OBR's forecast, which suggested that the UK will not enter a recession this year, and only contract by 0.2% instead of the 1.4% initially predicted.
In this post, we will delve into the Spring and Autumn UK Budgets, exploring what we can expect to see in the future, what we can expect in the Budget, and how the UK Budget will affect individuals and businesses across the UK.
Want to know about the Autumn Budget 2023? Find out more here!
What Is The UK Spring Budget?
The Spring and Autumn Budgets are made by the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer to the House of Commons.
The announcements include Government proposals for tax, a report on the nation's finances and a forecast of the economy from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Our current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his first Spring Budget on March 15th 2023. It was expected that Mr Hunt would address the next steps in the future of public finances by focusing on four pillars:
Mr Hunt has also suggested that the Government's long-term goal is for the UK to be "the most competitive tax regime of any major country."
The UK Budget covered plenty of ground for the broader economic and social communities, from corporate and personal taxes to innovation and boosting economic growth.
What Happened In The Last Autumn Budget?
In the last autumn Budget, Jeremy Hunt promised a Budget of 'stability, growth and public services', which came only a few months after the disastrous Mini-Budget imposed by Liz Truss.
The Autumn Budget aimed to stabilise the UK's economy and avoid an economic depression.
Mr Hunt confirmed that the economy would shrink over the end of 2022 and into early 2023 and that they had many hurdles to overcome to avoid a recession.
In November, when the Autumn Budget was announced, the UK faced a cost of living & energy crisis, soaring inflation prices, reduced quality of life, and a slowing housing market.
But the Autumn Budget set out to help stabilise the economy through tax rises, spending cuts and an increased drive for renewable energy.
How Have We Seen The Economy Respond From The Last Budget?
Since the Autumn Budget, we have seen a mixed reception to the announcements made – as house prices have continued to slow, but mortgage rates have begun to sink back to the expected levels.
As of December 2022, according to the Land Registry, the average house price in the UK is £294,329 — property prices have fallen by 0.4% since the previous month but risen by 9.8% compared to the previous year.
According to Uswitch.com, during March 2023, the average two-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the UK was 5.09%, whereas the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate in the UK was 4.71%, slightly higher than the preferred rate.
What Did We Predict For The Spring Budget?
Before the Spring Budget was announced, we predicted that the Spring Budget in 2023 would have a positive impact on the UK economy, with measures to reduce inflation, promote economic growth and reduce public debt by:
The Housing Market
The Budget was expected to establish tax cuts for businesses, with some tax cuts for those buying and selling property, with incentives to encourage developers and builders to get back into the market.
Additionally, the Government was expected to revamp the benefits system so that vulnerable people who return to work part-time can continue to claim some benefits.
Energy Bill Support
We also predicted that some form of energy bill support would be implemented — although changes to the Energy Price Guarantee would be protected to save the UK economy from sky-high energy costs.
Overall, the Spring Budget would provide a cushion for many by promoting economic growth and reducing inflationary pressures. But, some negative impacts could affect the overall quality of life of many British Citizens.
Corporation and other business taxes likely increased, making the UK significantly less attractive to foreign businesses and investors.
Additionally, we predicted that there may have been further cuts to public spending as the Government looks to reduce public debt and repair its economic reputation. The Budget would also lead to further increased energy costs.
How Will The Spring Budget Impact The UK Housing Market?
While the Spring Budget that was announced is being labelled as a "budget for growth" and has been designed to support students, pensioners, health services and people out of work, it fails to meet the immediate needs of the housing market.
The impact of the UK Budget on the home-seller and broader housing markets remains mixed. The previous Autumn Budget kickstarted the property investment industry by reversing stamp duty cuts, which may help stimulate the housing market — however, the Budget did not significantly change the residential property market.
The only significant development previously for the protection of the housing market came a year earlier, in 2021, from the residential property developer tax at 4%, which aims to raise at least £2 Billion over the next ten years — the tariff does not apply to rent or student housing.
Many would-be house buyers remain spooked by mortgage rates running significantly higher than the lows recorded previously, with confidence further shaken by double-digit inflation and relatively low wage growth.
The Autumn Budget 2022 opened the door for property investment and the reversal of stamp duty cuts in 2025, which may stimulate the housing market; experts predicted that house prices would fall by 5-10% in 2023 due to the recession and higher mortgage rates.
However, now, the Government and OBR are suggesting that the UK will avoid a recession this year and will grow by 1.8% next year due to the suggested Spring Budget plans:
Energy Bill Support
Mr Hunt announced that the Energy Price Guarantee had been capped at £2,500 for three months — ending in June. In July, the cap will be lowered to £2,100.
Under the new Spring Budget, the benefits system will undergo the most significant revamp in a decade. Mr Hunt will put a lot of emphasis on getting 6.6 million economically inactive people back to work.
Hunt also announced that the childcare system would be given a £4 billion expansion to ensure eligible children are given 30 free hours.
The Housing Market
The housing market was barely mentioned in this year's Spring Budget, and with the affordability of homeownership currently at its worst in 150 years, many in the industry are calling for support for first-time buyers.
There have been some positive outcomes from the Budget announcement; for example, the eight new investment zones outside of London will create a bustling and booming centre around universities — which will drive local communities and property markets.
The new 30-free-hour childcare system may indirectly affect the property market as it could allow families who struggled to afford housing finance under the previous regime to work longer hours and make families mortgageable — helping them get onto the property ladder.
And, people over 50 years old being reskilled in technology and construction may indirectly influence the downsizing market. With more people able to choose how and where they downsize, we may see a lot of family homes becoming available on the market.
But, the economic headwinds remain relatively strong; it is still being determined how the UK Budget will affect the home seller markets in the long term.
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