Building boss praises Stamp Duty cut but calls for Help to Buy extension

By Barrie Hudson - 9 July 2020

Business

A new housing firm boss is calling for the extension of a scheme for people trying to get on to the property ladder.

  • Regional director Ian Menham wants Help to Buy extension

    Regional director Ian Menham wants Help to Buy extension

Ian Menham, regional chief of Barratt Developments, spoke after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the threshold below which stamp duty is not paid would be extended from £125,000 to £500,000.

 

While welcoming the change, Mr Menham called for Right to Buy, a scheme in which the Government lends buyers up to 20 percent of the cost of their newly-built home and doesn't charge loan fees for five years, to be extended.

 

Current Barratt Development projects include Canalside at Wichelstowe in Swindon.

 

Mr Menham said: "The stamp duty cut will be welcomed by many of our customers and will give an immediate boost to the whole housing market. And in Swindon, Wiltshire and across the South West we have seen a surge in interest from first time buyers, families and downsizers alike since the lockdown eased.

"However, the Help to Buy scheme has also been highly effective for getting people on to the housing ladder, and is due to end in its current form by 1 April next year. 

"Due to the coronavirus crisis interrupting build programmes and putting completions back, a lot of potential Help to Buy users will now miss out through no fault of their own. Government should therefore consider extending Help to Buy for a few more months, so that customers are not penalised unfairly."

Barratt Developments recently announced that it would repay all funds received under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention - furlough -  Scheme.

Mr Menham said: "We are grateful for the support that the Government has provided through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allowed us to safeguard the jobs of our 650 employees in the South West during the height of the pandemic. 

"However, our financial position has remained resilient; therefore, we will now repay all furlough funds received."  

With building work now continuing across all of its developments, the developer wants to ensure buyers do not miss out because of delays due to the coronavirus crisis.

The firm has reported a surge of interest in buying a new home in the region since lockdown restrictions eased, with a 97 percent rise in enquiries last month, compared to the same period last year.

Barratt Developments took the decision to close all construction sites at the start of the coronavirus crisis in order to protect employees, subcontractors and customers. 

Whilst all sites have now resumed, timescales for completion on some developments have changed, which means some buyers will not be eligible for the current Help to Buy scheme.

 

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