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Chancellor announces £3bn affordable home scheme

Chancellor announces £3bn affordable home scheme

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced £3bn in funding for affordable homes in the UK. 

Delivering his Spring Statement in the House of Commons earlier today (March 13), Philip Hammond MP said a £3bn guarantee scheme would support the delivery of about 30,000 affordable homes.

Mr Hammond also pledged £717m from the infrastructure fund to "unlock" up to 37,000 new homes in West London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge.

Mr Hammond said housing delivery last year exceeded 220,000 additional homes, as he announced the government's "ambitious plan to restore the dream of homeownership to younger people" was already "delivering". 

Jeremy Leaf, former RICS residential chairman and London estate agent, said anything which improves the supply of affordable housing is welcomed, but he added he had "heard it all before".

He said: "We want to see a timetable for delivery, which will keep prices in check and meet demand irrespective of political and economic uncertainty, rather than just empty promises."

In today's statement Mr Hammond said the abolition of stamp duty for first-time-buyers, first introduced in 2017, had helped 240,000 people onto the property ladder.

But Mr Leaf said he was "disappointed" the statement had failed to address the private rented sector.

He said: "The various measures compromising landlords’ finances introduced over the past few years has led to many, particularly accidental landlords, selling up, at a time when people are renting for longer and buying their first home later.

"First-time buyer numbers may have increased to a 12-year high but even those taking advantage of government schemes such as Help-to-Buy or stamp duty exemptions are struggling to raise deposits and take those important first steps on the ladder."

Toni Smith, chief operating officer at mortgage network Primis, said she had expected Mr Hammond’s statement to be a low-key affair for the mortgage market, which it largely was, but predicted the affordable homes pledge would be applauded.

She said: "Help-to-Buy has been crucial in making homeownership a reality for many, with the number of first-time buyers reaching an 11-year high in 2017.

"With today’s new measure, this section of the market will be reassured that they remain a core focus of the government."

Ms Smith added: "Whilst the buy-to-let market may not be at the top of the government’s agenda at the moment, at Primis we will continue to ensure that our advisers are fully equipped to provide quality advice, so that borrowers across the spectrum of the market have access to the solutions they need."