The 2016 budget – did it help solve the housing crisis?

With the aftermath of the 2016 budget a distant memory, property developer Richard Carr examines the changes to property in the UK and if it will help solve the countries housing crisis.


Richard Carr comments on the 2016 budgetOverall there wasn’t a big housing announcement as to how the government plans on solving the crippling issue of supply or the increasing house prices that are preventing many young people in the country own a home.


ISAs have been a popular tool in the government’s effort to show that its commitment to helping young people get on the property ladder. At this year’s budget it announce a ‘Lifetime ISA’ which would provide people under the age of 40 with 25% on top of any funds in the account (up to £1,000 per year).

Looking at the bonus against the rate of house price increases takes the shine off the ISA slightly. A saver could have achieved a maximum bonus of £5,000 by 2021 from the government however house prices are expected to raise by 25% by 2021, meaning that the average house would go up by £50,000.

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Pressure grows on government to implement planning reforms

Commercial and Residential Development Specialist Richard Carr expects the government to allow councils to set their own planning fees in this year’s Autumn Statement following increased pressure from the Local Government Association (LGA).

Local knowledge

Richard Carr's planning permission image

Richard Carr says the government needs to do more to help building firms

Richard Carr is of the opinion that passing control of planning fees to councils instead of having nationally-set planning fees will benefit developers.

He believes developers will benefit from relationships with local planning officers and knowledge of the area to reach fairer and more accurate fees.

The LGA has urged Chancellor George Osborne to remove the cap introduced by the government in 2012 when he informs the country of his spending review in the Autumn Statement later this month.

Many expect to see the cap removed with speculation mounting that the Treasury, keen to see house building accelerate in the UK, is sympathetic towards developers.

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Government set to double size of cities to meet housing demand

The UK government announced radical new rules to help free new land for homes in a bid to ease the county’s housing crisis, writes property consultant Richard Carr.

Brownfield planning relaxed

Richard Carr Brownfield Leeds

The government plans to relax planning permission on brownfield sites

Planning rules on brownfield sites across the UK have been relaxed by the government to encourage developers to build more homes for first time buyers.

Chancellor George Osborne also confirmed that the housing budget will be used for low cost homes aimed at the younger generation and housing association tenants who will be given to the right to buy.

The government will also bring forward sales of land, buildings and other assets which they own to raise around £5 billion, which will be used to fund new infrastructure projects.

A report on the country’s long term infrastructure needs will also be commissioned, with the project to be headed by Lord Andrew Adonis.

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Developers pleased with latest budget proposals

Developments Specialist Richard Carr supports the recent article in the Financial Times titled ‘Developers hail UK planning reforms’.

Planning reforms

Richard Carr property developer

Property developers pleased with new proposals

According to the paper, UK developers have failed the recent planning reforms announced in George Osborne’s emergency budget, which are designed to boost Britain’s housebuilding from near-historic lows.

Some of the main proposals centred around brownfield sites and the relaxation of planning. Small house building firms are being incentivised to build on brownfield sites as they no longer have to spend time and money obtaining planning permission.

Furthermore, a new zoning system is to be introduced on brownfield sites where developers will get automatic planning permission.

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Will new measures improve planning performance?

The Government’s Productivity Plan included a series a new measures designed to improve planning performance, and in his latest blog Development Specialist Richard Carra looks at whether they will work.


Richard Carr's planning permission image

Will new measures improve the planning system?

The reforms will aim to improve the speed of planning decisions as well as moves to devolve planning powers, especially in the capital.

According to the reforms, ministers will:

  • Legislate to allow major infrastructure projects with an element of housing to apply through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Regime (NSIP)
  • Tighten the planning performance regime, so that local authorities making 50 per cent or fewer of decisions on time are at risk of designation
  • Legislate to extend the performance regime to minor applications, so that local authorities processing those applications too slowly are at risk of designation
  • Introduce a fast-track certificate process for establishing the principle of development for minor development proposals, and significantly tighten the ‘planning guarantee’ for minor applications
  • Introduce a dispute resolution mechanism for section 106 agreements, to speed up negotiations and allow housing starts to proceed more quickly.

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Thank god for no Mansion Tax!

There’s now over half a million Brits thankful that Labour’s Mansion Tax policy never saw the light of day, writes Richard Carr.

Mansion Tax

Richard Carr  Kensington Palace Gardens

Residents of Kensington Palace will be grateful the Mansion Tax policy never become a reality

It’s now a distant memory, but in the lead up to this year’s general election Mansion Tax was one of the most widely talked about policies. Labour proposed to heavily tax properties worth over £2m to help fund the NHS.

Unsurprisingly this caused a lot of panic and for a number of months the property market stalled, however since the Conservatives’ victory the market has only prospered and now more than half a million British properties are worth over £1m.

According to Zoopla, who collated the data, it’s the first time ever that the figure has reached over half a million.

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George Osborne’s budget promises planning reforms

Richard Carr was amongst the many listening intently to George Osborne’s budget speech to assess what effect it would have upon the commercial and residential development industry.

Planning reforms

Richard Carr George Osborne Budget 2015 SummerThe Chancellor promised a raft of planning reforms in his recent summer budget, but didn’t reveal implicitly what would be introduced or changed. Exactly what the reforms will include are set to be revealed on Friday 10 July.

Further devolution was also promised by the Chancellor has he insisted that the administration remained committed to the development of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’. He committed £30m to establish ‘Transport for the North’ as a statutory body with statutory responsibilities.

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Over 80,000 first time buyers take advantage of UK’s Help to Buy scheme

Richard Carr believed it was important the country voted Conservative in last month’s general elections to continue the growth in the market.

Arguably the party’s most successful property policy – Help to Buy – has this week hit a landmark with 100,000 UK residents using the scheme to purchase a home.

Entry level for first time buyers

Richard Carr DevelopmentOf those 100,000 buyers, the latest data shows that some 80% of scheme completions were made by first time buyers.

That percentage is expected to rise after autumn 2015 following the introduction of the Conservatives’ Help to Buy ISA, which will provide savers with a monthly bonus.

The average house price of homes via the scheme was below the national average at £184,000, whilst over half of transactions have been for new build homes. This is a good sign for developers and construction firms moving forward and for the country’s economy, which relies heavily on a growing and prosperous construction sector.

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