Budget housing measures step in right direction, says Masthaven chief James Bloom

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Masthaven chief James Bloom believes the range of housing measures announced in the Budget are "definitely a step in the right direction".

Chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing homes worth up to £300,000. And to recognise sky-high costs in cities such as London, the exemption also applies to the first £300,000 of the purchase price of properties of up to £500,000, potentially nearly halving their bills to around £5,500.

Overall the reform will reduce stamp duty for 95 per cent of first-time buyers and wipe it out altogether for 80 per cent. An estimated one million first-time buyers over the next five years will save an average £1,660.

And Mr Bloom, managing director of short term lending at Masthaven, said the measures were positive and that he applauded the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyer purchases.

He added: “The range of housing measures announced in the Budget are definitely a step in the right direction.

"The headlines are certainly interesting, especially ‘new money’ for the home builders fund – the Chancellor announced some impressive numbers here, but as always the devil is in the detail.

"For example, I think allocation of funding for SME developers needs clarification. I applaud the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyer purchases up to £300,000 – a very positive move for this group, I think it will particularly help the housing market outside London and the South East.

"The Government has been trying to fix the under supply of new homes for many years, but so far none of the measures have worked sufficiently. I think fundamental issues with the housing market remain, for example the number of new homes being built which has led to missed targets and under supply. Whether today’s new measures will alleviate the structural issues remains to be seen; this will become clearer over the coming weeks and months."

Carl Eldridge is a journalist with more than 25 years’ experience working on local and then national newspapers, including a spell on the City Desk at the Daily Express, before switching from print media to the internet.

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