Developers optimistic about housing outlook

Builders cautious as housing outlook improves

Evidence is growing that the worst is over in the recession-hit property market following a string of cautiously optimistic assessments from the UK’s leading housebuilders.

Persimmon set the tone this month when it predicted a moderate recovery. Barratt, the UK’s largest housebuilder, and Bovis Homes echoed that sentiment with similarly upbeat forecasts.

The number of new homes being built rose to its highest level for over a year in the three months to October, with work starting on 25,000 new properties, an increase of 27 per cent compared with the same period last year.

However, housebuilders are reluctant to be too bold over the prospects of a sustained recovery because of the fragility of the market and the uncertainty over the continuing availability of mortgages. More about the property market.

‘We are way ahead of where we were this time last year, but we’re not out of the woods yet and there could still be plenty of problems for the industry were the banks to pull back lending,’ said Bovis’ chief executive David Ritchie.

Apply for property loans from an independent lender

Private lenders lend from their own funds and so have their own lending criteria. This means they may offer finance to companies that have been refused by mainstream high street lenders or banks.

Lenders such as Hunter Finance fund property developments in Bedfordshire and the South East of England. Apply online here.

Buy-to-let tax break plan attacked

Thousands of first-time buyers will be priced out of the housing market if the Treasury presses ahead with plans to offer new tax breaks to buy-to-let investors, campaigners warn today. The Treasury published a consultation paper in February which included plans to boost the supply of private rented housing. One key proposal was for professional investors to pay stamp duty separately on each home, even when they buy a large portfolio of properties, reducing their total bill.
PricedOut, which campaigns on behalf of first-time buyers who are not able to enter the property market, says the proposal is grossly unfair to first-time buyers and would make their struggle to buy a house even more difficult.
William Griffith, spokesman for PricedOut, said: ‘The large tax breaks that buy to let currently enjoys mean that they can always outbid first-time buyers. It is astonishing that the government is seeking to further entrench this disparity in the housing market.’

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