Chancellor Rishi Sunak has made a renewed pledge to build 180,000 affordable homes from £11.5bn of investment.
While this is being reported as a fresh development in some news outlets, this was originally announced by former housing minister Robert Jenrick in September last year.
Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “The Chancellor has chosen to give the sector a bit of the cold shoulder with just a handful of headline figures, clearly believing his job is done having fuelled house prices to record highs via the recent stamp duty holiday.
“We need more homes to satisfy our ever-growing appetite for homeownership and an insignificant level of brownfield development is more of a slap in the face than it is an outstretched hand
“As for the £11.5bn pledged for 180,000 affordable homes, it’s a start, but hardly news given it was announced by Robert Jenrick a year ago.
It simply isn’t enough and with the government consistently failing to meet their previous housebuilding targets, it will be a miracle if we see a brick laid on brownfield land or a meaningful level of affordable homes delivered in our lifetime.”
Others called this announcement a smoke and mirrors exercise.
Sundeep Patel, director of sales at specialist lender Together, said: “At first glance, the Chancellor’s £11.5bn commitment to the development of more affordable housing, as part of the £24bn multi-year housing settlement, isn’t to be sniffed at. With an additional £1.8bn announced today, there are clearly attempts to solve the housing supply crisis.
“That said, we all know today is a bit of a smoke and mirrors game. It’s fair to challenge whether or not this funding will go far enough. Even with the national living wage set to increase, house prices and the strict mortgage lending criteria as set by the high street continues to limit the options available for aspiring first-time buyers.
“And while focussing on smaller brownfield sites for housing is a good first step, given the plethora of unused buildings, shopping centres and warehouses after the pandemic, it’s puzzling why the government is yet to seize opportunities here too.”
John Goodall, chief executive of Landbay, responded to the announcement with some cynicism.
He said: “In this Budget the Chancellor seems to have rolled back the years of austerity with yet another spending spree. We will need to see if tax receipts really do cover this if the Chancellor is to meet his goal that every day spending is to be paid for through taxation.
“The £11.5bn investment in 180,000 new affordable homes will be helpful – if they actually get built. The government is woefully short in its target to build 300,000 new homes a year so we need to see the detail of exactly how that is to be achieved.
“The investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies will be a welcome help limited company landlords to achieve the required EPC rating of C or above which will be required to rent their properties out from 2025”