The past few Budgets have put forward innovative plans to boost the housing market.
Planning approvals are at a seven-year high, although we still do not build enough homes. Even if we did, you would still have to afford them, and when you save you do not get much added in the way of interest, as saving rates continue to be at rock bottom.
The Budget gives much-needed help for first-time buyers trying hard to save for their first home. The new Help-to-Buy Isa means that eligible savers can look forward to a 25 per cent boost to their savings when they come to fund their first home.
These new accounts will be open for four years, there is no minimum amount to save, and the monthly maximum will be £200. The overall limit will be £12,000, so this should qualify a first-time buyer to a whopping 25 per cent or £3,000 added to the plan when it comes to buying a first home. Each individual saver can have one, so there will be a double benefit for a couple saving together.
You will be able to use the funds for a property with a value up to £450,000 in London and up to £250,000 outside the capital. Sadly, I cannot open one for my children, who are aged seven and nine, as you have to be over-16 to apply.
More good news: the chancellor announced that he will make it easier for the land bank that is owned by public offices such as the department of defence and local authorities to be freed up to provide more land for new homes.
This, coupled with the innovative housing zone initiative, should encourage more new homes – but we still won’t be building enough to satisfy demand.