It may seem like lightyears ago now, but the 2020 Budget was only announced last month, with the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, giving several updates in regard to housing and property.
These included new taxes for overseas property buyers, funding to remove unsafe cladding and some spending on new homes delivery and money to tackle homelessness.
Interestingly, the chancellor also referenced a potential White Paper that he promised would “bring the planning system into the twenty-first century”.
Obviously, Harvey Homes welcomes any review of the planning system, especially changes that could speed up the process. We have several sites in the pipeline at the moment and are very keen to get started. We are an ambitious and forward-thinking housing developer and are actively looking for new sites and opportunities across the North West region.
It is clear to us that amendments to planning policies that can help to make the process quicker would help us to complete our projects and deliver more fantastic housing to families across the North West.
We’re not the only ones who had comments and opinions on Rishi Sunak’s 2020 Budget. In this blog we will include commentary from other property developers and industry experts who have given their view on what the budget means for the wider market.
New property and affordable homes
Alongside his comments on planning, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also used his first Budget to announce a new £12 billion multi-year extension of the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP). This is a £3 billion boost to the current programme which was first started in 2016.
The funding, which is distributed by Homes England and the Greater London Authority, supports housing associations and encourages developers to build new affordable housing.
Affordable housing is something that is very important across the UK and is an essential aspect of many building sites.
We have nine affordable houses (5 shared ownership with Heylo Housing and 4 intermediate rental units which will be going to Equity Housing to manage) at Swan Green in Knutsford. All but one of these have been reserved already by families keen on the fantastic location and high specification of the builds. Much of the feedback we have received about these units is that the design and quality of the homes are much better than standard affordable housing units. We believe that every family deserves a great place to live.
All the homes at Swan Green, including the affordable housing units, offer generous bedroom sizes as well as large living spaces where families can come together to dine, cook and relax. It is this design that has attracted so many people to our development already.
Commenting on the 2020 budget and the focus on affordable housing is Jeremy Raj, national head of residential property at Irwin Mitchell. He said: “It is clearly the case that the significant additional funding for affordable housing is to be welcomed and will benefit the country in a multitude of ways. Such pledges have historically proved difficult if not impossible to turn into reality and we will wait to see whether the bricks, construction workers and planning permissions also materialise over the coming years. It is to be hoped that the further announcements from the Housing Minister will back up these aspirations with practical measures that actually enable more affordable homes to be built.”
2020 Budget, Coronavirus and property
While it is to be expected that coronavirus dominated the 2020 Budget and will impact the property market, here at Harvey Homes we are trying to stay as positive as possible. We are continuing to receive enquiries for our homes, especially from people who are looking to move to a village location in the countryside.
We’re also using this time to bring positivity to families during the current coronavirus crisis and are continuing to build connections with the local community in Knutsford.
Unfortunately, the Harvey Homes show home at Swan Green in Knutsford, Cheshire is currently closed and will be until the restrictions on movement in the UK have been lifted. However, we are able to offer virtual tours through a video that allows potential buyers to feel as though they are immersed in the beautiful interior and light-filled spaces.
Also providing commentary on coronavirus and the supply of new homes across the country is Nigel Purves, chief operating officer at Wayhome. He said that he wasn’t surprised the Coronavirus dominated Rishi Sunak’s first budget but added that ”as the Chancellor said, ‘Coronavirus is not the only challenge facing the country’ and while he’s cut taxes and turned on infrastructure spending taps, it’s clear that not enough has been done for housing.”
Property in the North
According to the chancellor, “The regions have a significant contribution to make” to the UK overall’s stock of housing.
Owen Michaelson, chief executive Harworth Group, a land and property regeneration specialist in the Midlands and the north of England, says he is delighted that the Chancellor has backed further devolution away from London. He further commented that “The regions have a significant contribution to make in future-proofing our economy and improving the nation’s productivity.”
This is something that we commented on at the beginning of March as we had been noticing a growing trend of southerners moving North and seeking out new places to call home.
As this trend does not set to end anytime soon, we need to ensure that there is enough high-quality housing to accommodate the Northerners already here and Southerners who are looking for a new quality of life.
Only time will tell if the Chancellor makes good on his promises to planning, affordable houses and the North. Let’s hope that the coronavirus doesn’t send us totally off track and we are all able to continue positively and productively.