Autumn Budget 2017: eMoov Calls for Greenbelt Reclassification and Further Stamp Duty Shakeup

As the annual Autumn Budget announcement approaches, leading hybrid estate agent shares its predictions and hopes for what the Chancellor Philip Hammond might have in store for the UK housing market.

Judging by past budgets, it is expected that this upcoming statement will have little impact on the housing sector. The government has already shown its hand with the ban on letting fees, which in their eyes, will no doubt be adequate as a show of intent in tackling the current property crisis.

It is unlikely that we will see any further attack on a buy-to-let market that has already taken several blows in previous budgets and since. We may see some paltry attempt to bring first-time buyers on side through further regurgitated rhetoric, with the intention of making getting on the ladder slightly less impossible.

But we predict that the property market, as usual, will be largely overlooked with a hope that it will remain in the shadows of other headline grabbing initiatives.

What We Want to See
It may be wishful thinking when it comes to proactive property based announcements, but there are a number of issues that need to be addressed by the government in order to make a meaningful start on addressing the UK housing crisis.

Stamp Duty
Stamp Duty has proven to be a constant burden on home buyers, and it will persist if this problem is not confronted by the government. Rather than lower Stamp Duty for older homeowners who have benefitted from explosive price growth over many decades, it should instead be lowered for first-time buyers to give an additional hand up, much like the added fee imposed for second home owners and buy-to-let landlords, but in the reverse.

We also hope that stamp duty will be flipped on its head so it becomes the seller’s financial obligation, not those struggling to actually get on the ladder. Either that or have it eradicated altogether.

Founder and CEO of, Russell Quirk, commented:

“In a market where the financial hurdle is the main obstacle for first-time buyers, the government should put an end to this archaic land tax. It is already difficult enough to come up with the money to buy a property, and stamp duty only increases the hardship placed on first-time buyers to get out of the rental graveyard and onto the ladder.”

New Builds
We are crying out for something, anything meaningful where the actual building of houses is concerned. While homeowners will enjoy positive price growth, this simulated inflation due to an imbalance in buyer demand and stock available is not a healthy basis for the market to be growing – and as previously seen, this can end very badly.

One of our largest demands is that both local and national governments reveal all the spare land that they own, in order to either sell it or develop it, because there is a lot of it. Instead of using £1bn corporations to develop the land, they should issue its own developer who would oversee the construction of properties, allowing for thousands of homes to be built.

It is important that this entire process is taken out of the hands of politicians, and instead overseen by experts in the sector. In addition, the planning involved in further development of this land needs to lose its democratic edge and NYMBY influence to be successful.

But it would appear that they wants to restrict the supply of housing in order to artificially stimulate this price growth and keep the home owning masses on side, while aspirational buyers continue to see homeownership slip further out of reach.

Given their track record, it is very unlikely that government will provide any sufficient level of stock that would see prices level out, but we hope that they make some attempt.

We believe that they could solve the housing crisis by allocating 1 per cent every ten years of the UK’s less desirable greenbelt areas that would result in the construction of 600,000 new homes.

Founder and CEO of, Russell Quirk, commented:

“We’ve previously called for tax incentives to developers so they actually build rather than land bank, and the wrongly classified areas of green belt land could also go a long way in addressing the shortage of property, if only local councillors weren’t so easily intimidated by the selfish cries of NIMBYs who don’t want to see outsiders moved to their green and pleasant lands.”