Osborne pledges house-building boom

Pledging to get “Britain building”, Mr Osborne confirmed that the government would make up to £500m in finance available to small house-building firms through a builders finance fund, in addition to a £150m loan fund to kick-start the regeneration of stalled housing estate projects, and a further £150m to back self-build initiatives.

Mr Osborne commented on the promises made by the government to back the building of a £200m garden city in Ebbsfleet, and pledged to build additional homes at Barking Riverside in East London and Brent Cross in North West London. The chancellor also confirmed that the Help to Buy equity loan scheme will continue until 2020, guaranteeing a £6bn investment, and 120,000 new homes will be built. Meanwhile, the Support for Mortgage Interest benefit for homeowners in financial difficulties will be extended to 2016.

In the Budget, Mr Osborne vowed to end “abuse” of stamp duty rules, with anyone purchasing a residential property worth more than £500,000 through a business having to pay 15 per cent stamp duty from 20 March. The previous limit was £2m.

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Mark Harris, chief executive of London-based mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “The long overdue wholesale reform of the archaic stamp duty land tax system was left alone for another year at least. The 15 per cent stamp duty charge for property deals of more than £500,000 through a corporate envelope is unlikely to create much of an issue. Generally, most wealthy people are now buying in their own names anyway.”