Despite hopes that The Budget would provide solutions for the UK’s struggling property market, it has failed to make any meaningful changes. The uncertainty within the market continues, with a shortage of homes being built, increased mortgage and rent costs, and growing inequality between those with property and those without. Even saving for a deposit has become an almost impossible task for many renters. Homeowners also benefit from tax-free price growth, while tenants do not.
While Jeremy Hunt may have taken a longer-term view for financial or political reasons, he missed opportunities to level the playing field in the short to medium term. This includes re-balancing Stamp Duty, penalizing developers who wait for price growth, and providing tax breaks for landlords who insulate their tenant’s homes or offer long-term leases. These solutions are not particularly expensive and would have an immediate positive impact on property buyers and society as a whole.
The impact of the housing crisis goes beyond just the property market, as it affects various issues troubling the government. The lack of homes can make people less tolerant of immigration, increase inflation, and leave younger generations feeling disenfranchised. People also put off having children or pursuing better jobs because they can’t afford the right home or living conditions.
It’s surprising that a Conservative government has not taken the opportunity to create more homeowners, as this is generally thought to make people more likely to vote for their party. The Budget leaves those hoping for positive changes in the housing market with little comfort and uncertain prospects for the future.