Autumn Statement anticipation heightens as speculation mounts of increased help for homebuyers

The UK property market is poised for Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, with heightened speculation over potential measures to stimulate market activity.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors underscores the critical role of first-time buyers.

Leaf said: “We don’t believe any tweaks may be appropriate unless focused on first-time buyers who are the lifeblood of the market. They trade up – unlike investors who tend to buy and stay at lower price levels.”

The statement is expected to bring significant changes, particularly for first-time buyers.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is likely to extend the mortgage guarantee scheme, allowing mortgages with a 5% deposit.

Speculations also suggest modifications to the LISA, including a possible reduction in withdrawal penalties and an increase in the age limit for contributions, to enhance retirement savings for the self-employed.

Leaf highlights the potential impact of these changes. He said: “More transactions are good not just for the property market but the general economy in view of their multiplier effect on so many other businesses.” He also points out the positive effect on the rental market, explaining: “First-time buyers also free up rental properties to other tenants who are not yet ready to buy, reducing renewals and easing the shortages, particularly of desperately needed affordable homes.”

However, Leaf cautions against short-term fixes and advocates for long-term strategies to ensure market stability. He suggests: “We would like to see politicians focus on the longer-term interests of the market rather than short-term fixes.”

Emphasising the importance of easing planning backlogs to boost housing supply, particularly for SMEs, Leaf add:, “Easing the planning backlog to raise housebuilding supply would be another smart move – especially for SMEs – now mortgage rates, though dipping, look as though they are going to stay relatively high for longer.”