The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has recently released his autumn 2017 budget statement.

For many people, attention has been drawn towards changes that are likely to affect the housing market, which has become the major talking point of the budget.

Over the last few years, many political commentators have insisted that the housing market is spiraling out of control, with extortionate rent prices, a shortage of social housing, and a lack of affordable housing for first time buyers being the primary concerns.

The latest budget seeks to address some of those issues, particularly with regards to first time buyers, but what will the Treasury's new housing strategy mean for you?

What are the Stamp Duty changes?

Arguably the most significant change to emerge from the most recent budget is the abolition of Stamp Duty for all first-time buyers purchasing homes of a value up to £300,000.

There will also be a reduced Stamp Duty charge on homes up to £500,000, with the first £300,000 remaining Stamp Duty free.

The reduced Stamp Duty for homes up to the value of £500,000 is thought to have been introduced to combat the inflated property prices for first time buyers in more expensive areas, such as London and the South East.

The reduction will apply immediately in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However the Welsh government plans to devolve Stamp Duty in April 2018, so may choose to abolish Stamp Duty altogether by that point.

The Treasury estimates that the policy will cost £3.2 billion over the course of the next five years.

Are the Stamp Duty changes likely to have a positive impact?

Philip Hammond has asserted that the Stamp Duty changes will have a positive impact on almost all first-time buyers, with 95% expected to see Stamp Duty cut and an estimated 80% to pay none whatsoever.

However, this has been contested by the Office for Budget Responsibility, who claim that is actually existing homeowners who are likely to be the greatest beneficiaries, with housing prices set to rise by 0.3% on average within the next year as a result of Stamp Duty changes.

Some have suggested that the changes will only really benefit first-time buyers in Southern England - particularly in the South East - as many homes in the North were already below the Stamp Duty threshold, or at least within the lower brackets.

The average Stamp Duty charge across the North of England is a mere £11.82 and many have pointed to hefty deposit sums as more of a financial worry to first-time buyers than Stamp Duty, suggesting the government would be better off investing their efforts elsewhere in their bid to combat the housing crisis.

What else are the Government doing to address housing issues across the country?

The Government have pledged £44 billion in overall support for housing in order to to meet their target of providing 300,000 new homes a year every year up until 2025.

If the target is met, this would represent the largest scale investment in new housing since the 1970s.

£1.1billion is also to be invested in unlocking strategic sites for development and £400million has been pledged to housing estates which are deemed as being in the greatest need of regeneration and maintenance work.

Concerns with delays in developments moving forwards after being granted planning permission are also being addressed. This comes off the back of the news that planning applications have fallen by a third in the third quarter of 2017. Councils are also to be given the power to charge 100% council tax premium on empty properties.

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