Breaking Property News – 15/11/2023
Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.
Inheritance Tax, SDLT – will the Autumn statement power the flagging housing market?
On the 22nd of November, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, who was not re-shuffled for fear of upsetting the city, will put forward the shape of fiscal policy for the foreseeable future. Some feel that Rishi Sunak is keen to help asset rich constituents, by having a tweaking of the Inheritance Tax thresholds. But the big question is will SDLT be in the mix again?
With a cooling housing market, any fresh stimulus would be welcomed, but setting off house price inflation again, when lending rates are so high would put owning a home out of reach of many first time buyers who typically make up 40% of buyers each year.
Also, though unlikely will the Chancellor put in place any tax breaks for the hard pressed landlords in the PRS, many of whom are checking out due to the high level of cost to finance their rental properties. With rents going through the roof, exiting landlords are not what the government wants as the housing crisis with 1.4M people in acute need just gets worse.
It is thought that there is about £6Bn of wiggle room, but the question is where is this going to be deployed, especially as the government is deep in the bunker brought upon by the Home Secretary being fired to the back benches where she will do all she can to destroy Rishi.
What the UK needs, and what the invisible Prime Minister needs is some good news, it remains to be seen if Jeremy Hunt will be the harbinger of this next Wednesday or we will just see more tinkering at the edges and the property market being left to its own devices.
On the very big positive, (remembering we now have an ex-PM as Foreign secretary) at least this mini-budget is not being prepared by Kwasi Kwarteng – so we must count our blessings however small they turn out to be.
Where in Britain are the most homes being left empty – Admiral Group PLC investigates
Admiral Group PLC has analysed government data as well as gathered data from local councils through Freedom of Information requests to investigate where in Britain the most homes have been sitting empty and unused for the longest periods of time. Looking at London in particular, the research found that there are as many as 25,454 properties that have sat unoccupied for at least six-months in the capital to a collective value of roughly £13 billion.
While councils and charities continue to work on solutions, Admiral wanted to understand the nuances behind the figures of empty homes in relation to social housing waiting lists reaching out to Jonathan Tan, Co-founder and CEO of charity Greater Change.
In Tan’s view, ‘There are over 1.2 million households on the waiting list of council housing in England, … (and) while the data suggests that long-term empty properties could potentially accommodate up to 21% of the current housing demand, it’s crucial to understand that the actual percentage of habitable properties is likely significantly lower.
Moreover, the estimated total of individuals experiencing homelessness is suspected to surpass the officially recorded statistics. Numerous factors contribute to properties remaining vacant long-term, rendering the full 21% not necessarily feasible for social housing conversion. These factors may include the property being a holiday home, requiring extensive renovation, or being entangled in legal proceedings.
Consequently, it’s crucial to ask: What barriers are preventing these properties from becoming viable homes, and what are the economic challenges involved? Such exploration can offer valuable insights into addressing homelessness and housing shortages more effectively. Local housing allowance rates and universal credit rates have been frozen since April 2020 levels, making private renting unaffordable to those on benefits.
We at Greater Change are actively campaigning alongside our partners, different coalitions and homelessness charities to see the benefits rates rise to protect people who are the most financially vulnerable and give them the ability to afford to live.’
The Six key findings of Admiral’s report:
25,454 properties have stood unoccupied for at least 6 months in London with a collective value of £13 billion.
The City of London has the highest proportion of long-term empty properties in Britain.
London councils saw a 4.6% increase in long-term vacancies from 2021 to 2022.
Southwark has the highest number of long-term empty properties in London despite a 10.5% decrease from 2021.
The collective value of long-term empty houses in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is more than £2.1 billion– the highest in London.
Tower Hamlets saw the biggest increase from 2021 to 2022 in empty houses with an increase of 174.5%.