#Budget2015: The prime property industry’s reactions

No surprises in today’s pre-election Budget, and not much new that directly affects the top of the market, but there are still some things to have opinions about… Read...
Chancellor with a red box

Chancellor with a red boxNo surprises in today’s pre-election Budget, and not much new that directly affects the top of the market, but there are still some things to have opinions about…

  • Read about what was announced here.

We would have preferred to see more supply side initiatives

Jennet Siebrits, Head of Residential Research, CBRE

“We welcome any measure which is designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder.

“However, this measure will not benefit those currently unable to get on the housing ladder – it will only benefit long term savers looking to buy in a few years time.

“Under this ISA, first time buyers need to save £200 per month over four years to get the maximum benefit of £3,000. However over this period house prices could have risen by circa £40,000. Overall, we would have preferred to see more supply side initiatives as part of today’s Budget.”

Help to Buy ISA will have limited impact

Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research, Knight Frank

“Almost 83,000 households have already purchased a home through the Help to Buy scheme and there is no doubt it has had a positive, if modest, impact on transaction volumes over the last two to three years. The new Help to Buy ISA is likely to be another support for first time buyers. However we do not expect the impact to lead to a substantial number of new transactions, and is very unlikely to influence pricing in the market.”

Help to Buy ISA will make first time buyers less dependent on the bank of Mum and Dad

Lucian Cook, UK Head of Residential Research, Savills

“The Help to Buy ISA is a further attempt to keep alive the aspiration of home ownership and help first time buyers overcome the deposit constraints that have been the biggest barrier faced since the credit crunch.

“While it will be welcomed by prospective first time buyers, limiting the ISA to a £12,000 savings plan with a £3,000 government contribution should prevent a surge in house prices.  It is more likely to help get buyers over the deposit hurdle in the lower value, lower growth markets of the Midlands and the North than say London and the South East, where significant constraints remain.

“It is also likely to be welcomed by parents and grandparents by making first time buyers less dependent on the bank of Mum and Dad and more inclined to contribute some top up savings when children come looking for assistance to get on the housing ladder.

“However, those first time buyers who are keen to lock into low interest rates and who have access to parental support are unlikely to commit to what is effectively a five year savings plan.”

Help to Buy ISA – average first time buyer deposit versus income figures 

Average FTB Deposit Average FTB Income Deposit as a % of income Max £15k ISA as a % of current deposit (ie incl govt £3k) Max £3k Government Contribution as a % of deposit
Northern Ireland £14,567 £27,900 52% 103% 21%
Northern SSR £16,359 £31,102 53% 92% 18%
Yorkshire and Humberside SSR £17,470 £31,468 56% 86% 17%
Wales £17,646 £31,144 57% 85% 17%
North West SSR £18,000 £32,124 56% 83% 17%
East Midlands SSR £18,721 £32,459 58% 80% 16%
West Midlands SSR £19,810 £32,963 60% 76% 15%
Scotland £20,075 £32,607 62% 75% 15%
East Anglia SSR £26,204 £36,038 73% 57% 11%
South West SSR £30,022 £36,860 81% 50% 10%
South East SSR £32,057 £43,973 73% 47% 9%
Greater London SSR £69,630 £55,539 125% 22% 4%

Source: Savills Research/CML

Cutting red tape is essential

Nicholas Leeming, Chairman, Jackson-Stops & Staff 

“London’s status as a global financial centre is dependent on being able to attract the brightest and best young professionals to work in the capital.  The Chancellor’s move to cut red tape to create more homes is essential if we are to continue to see people living relatively close to their workplaces.”

We need action, not bureaucracy, to deliver new homes

Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive, London Square 

“We now need rapid action on delivering homes in the capital, not lengthy bureaucratic deliberation on the best way to make this happen. The land for new homes in London is all around us. We need to unlock it quickly before we lose another generation to renting rather than buying a home so they can work and live within a reasonable distance in the capital.”

Some excellent news, and a good start

Edward Heaton, Founder, Heaton and Partners 

Improvements to rural broadband: “Policies to improve rural broadband and phone reception will be excellent news for the prime country house market. As more and more people are leaving London and the Home Counties to further afield, the ability to be able to work from home is essential. This is likely to result in increased prices for prime property outside of the commuter belt as the opportunity to work from home becomes a reality for those in rural communities.”

Changes to the pension system: “Changes to the pension system, allowing savers to access more of their money sooner at favourable tax rates rather than buying an annuity, may also impact the housing sector. We might see an increase in the number of pensioners choosing to enter the buy-to-let market following these reforms. This may also impact the smaller second homes market in prime areas such as the south west.”

20 new housing zones: “Extra funding for new homes and the 20 new housing zones will be a relief to the UK. Any building that takes place on brownfield sites, rather than in open countryside must be welcome. Around the UK and even in London it is surprising how many potential sites remain unlocked because of planning policy and any changes or that are afoot to remedy this are a relief. Extra funding for new homes will not completely solve the housing crisis, however it is a good start, and after all Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Ultrafast broadband in rural areas will make a huge difference

Charlie Wells, Managing Director, Prime Purchase

“Rolling out ultrafast broadband to rural areas will make a huge difference to many people. All of our clients want to work from home and getting fast broadband access by other means is incredibly expensive. The move will help rural businesses.

“Assistance for first-time buyers is extremely welcome. There is always someone at the bottom of a chain who can slow the whole process down or even derail the deal if they can’t get the funding they need so making it easier for first-time buyers will benefit all homeowners.

“It is important that people have the ability to own their own home. If you don’t start building equity in property early on as you move up the housing ladder, you are at a disadvantage. It means you will be priced out further and this could have knock-on consequences for the rest of your life.”

The Help to Buy ISA is a great idea

Mark Harris, Chief Executive, SPF Private Clients 

“The Help to Buy ISA is a great idea. It encourages people to save, which is a far better way of tackling the issue of high house prices than increasing loan-to-values.

“Getting a big-enough deposit is a problem in London and the south-east but less of an issue in the rest of the country.

“The Help to Buy scheme has been a roaring success; boosting it further with the Help to Buy ISA will really assist first-time buyers and give them more of a chance of making their dream of home ownership a reality.”

No surprises, so a collective sigh of relief

Mark Parkinson, Director, Middleton Advisors 

“At first glance it seems that there is little relevant to property in this budget. The Help to Buy ISA should help some first time buyers but won’t benefit the scores of first time buyers that are helped out with lump sums from their parents. The fact that there are no property tax related surprises will have property advisors and buyers alike breathing a collective sigh of relief after December’s surprise stamp duty changes.  Generally speaking this budget should go down very well with middle England the £75 million in Libor fines going to injured service men is a clever touch.”

All quiet on the western front

Steven Aldridge, Director, Cityscope Developments Limited

“It was all quiet on the western front for the top end of the property market – a welcome relief for a sector that is a vital cog in the economic wheel and has experienced an energy slowdown over the past few months pre election. The announcement that the UK had the fastest growing economic growth out of the G7 countries can only be a good thing for foreign investors looking to put their money into Prime Central London homes.”

Many people who shouldn’t be struggling to get a mortgage are doing so and this requires government intervention

Jonathan Harris, Director, Anderson Harris

“It is good news that first-time buyers will get government assistance with their deposit but it would have been better if the announcement had come hand in hand with detailed plans to build more houses. There is a danger that giving first-time buyers assistance with a deposit will only push up house prices further.

“It is great news that accounts are limited to one per person rather than per home as many first-time buyers are couples so this will boost their deposit further.

“Some might question whether the £450,000 limit in London will be enough but it is important that there is a limit on the scheme and that ambitions are kept within realistic parameters.

“The big issue however, is that even if a first-time buyer can get together a deposit, there is no guarantee that they will be able to get a mortgage. Tighter rules under the mortgage market review mean many people who shouldn’t be struggling to get a mortgage are doing so and this requires government intervention.”

This was a tinker budget

James Wyatt, Partner, Barton Wyatt

“George Osborne nearly started singing towards the end of his speech  – ‘UK, the come-back Country’. Well, the Country may be enjoying a decent few years of growth ahead but the structural deficit is still appallingly enormous. This was a tinker budget. Take a bit, give a bit. Nothing brave and ground-breaking. Nothing much for house builders and us Estate Agents.

That said, the Help-to-buy measure of the Government giving a £50 top-up for every £200 saved towards a first time buyers deposit is helpful. The devil, as ever, will be in the detail – is there a maximum top-up amount for example? What did catch my eye, was the plan for Farmers to average their income for tax over 5 years. Given the roller coaster nature of a lot of Estate Agents incomes – how’s about we have the same measure?”

Cutting the red tape strangling London development is key to this announcement

Rick de Blaby, Chief Executive, United House Developments 

“Cutting the red tape strangling London development is key to this announcement. The Chancellor and the Mayor need to ensure that the delivery of public sector land and brownfield sites to developers is backed by an efficient, lean machine to free up this land to avoid the delays currently snarling up the system.”

We welcome the Chancellor’s review on the avoidance of inheritance tax

Glynis Frew, Managing Director, Hunters Property Group

“It was good to hear the Chancellor talk about his provisional agreement to allow Manchester to keep 100% of the additional growth in local business rates as the Government build ups the Northern Powerhouse, as well as a wide-ranging review of national business rates. Business rates currently unfairly hit smaller businesses across the country. They put high street estate agents at a disadvantage against the increasing prevalence of online estate agents who do not have to contribute to this form of taxation.  The Government has to support town location businesses to avoid the threat of empty high streets.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s review on the avoidance of inheritance tax. However, as was the angle discussed yesterday, a change to the current system now would have been better. This would potentially benefit families across the country and in turn encourage more property ownership, as well as providing greater security when purchasing a property. Inheritance tax levies penalise people who have saved all their lives.”

“Whilst we are seeing positive activity in the lettings market, we are concerned about the introduction of rent control legislation and banning of lettings agents’ fees that some parties are considering introducing. This will only result in higher rents which cannot be fair to tenants. 60% of our landlords have said that they would exit the rental market if such rent controls were put into place. Good landlords already have to abide by a host of new pieces of legislation and we feel this sector needs more support, rather than prohibitive measures. The lettings market is a very important part of the UK’s housing sector infrastructure that is often overlooked – figures suggest that we will see an additional 1.2 million households in England & Wales in the private rented sector by 2019 and a continued trend in more and more people opting to rent rather than buy.”

Will have a beneficial knock on effect across the property industry

Andrew Ellinas, Director, Sandfords

“After five years of a coalition government, it seems as though our economy is growing slightly faster than was original planned for, and if Mr Osborne’s predictions for growth are correct then it will provide a stable economy going forward which will be good for all sectors including property.

“I welcome the news on the Help to Buy ISA, albeit with some caution as the devil is in the detail which is yet to filter out. We do however need a government that will help to ease up the restrictions on people raising finance as getting a mortgage now is proving to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many people. This seems like it will help first time buyers and this is turn will have a beneficial knock on effect across the property industry.”

It was not unfair to think property was going to be a key issue for the Chancellor’s agenda for the Budget 2015, but it wasn’t

Fin Hughes, Smiths Gore

“Responding on behalf of the market to the budget news is always difficult when the magician pulls an invisible rabbit out of the hat!

“There was always going to be space between the wishes of the property industry and what Mr Osborne has delivered but with house prices in London 40% above the last peak, a chronic shortage of housing and tight mortgage regulations restricting borrowing, it was not unfair to think property was going to be a key issue for the Chancellor’s agenda for the Budget 2015, but it wasn’t.

“Mr Osborne’s speech was never going to be as explosive as for the last budget with stamp duty reform, but there was no mention of reform of council tax or mansion tax, it appears this is too much of a hot potato for a pre-election budget.  There was mention prior to today that there might be an increase in threshold for inheritance tax but this didn’t appear as well.

“The combination of continued assistance for first time buyers through Help to Buy ISAs and the housing zones for new building should all eventually push up the chain. However, the continued tightening of Lenders purse strings and the market’s ability to borrow will halter this, causing a log jam.

“The Council of Mortgage Lenders has revealed that the number of first-time buyers securing home loans has dropped. There were 19,000 loans advanced to first-time buyers January – down 27pc on December and 14pc compared to January 2014. These loans by value were £2.8bn, which was down 26pc on December and 10pc down on January last year. The question is; will the Help to buy ISAs assist this?”

London can be houses; you just need to know where to look

Andrew Bridges, Managing Director, Stirling Ackroyd

“The Chancellor has confirmed regeneration from Brent Cross to Croydon, and new powers for the Mayor to cut through red-tape planning and provide the homes that London desperately needs. A funding infusion for the London Land Commission to identify the best areas to build will be a boon for the City – our research has already identified potential space for over half a million homes, with new home hotspots concentrated in East London. London has the capability to meet the demands of its growing population, but the politicians need to take an axe to the red tape if that’s going to get the job done.

“The new Help-to-Buy ISA will lift many thousands of people onto the housing ladder – but it doesn’t address the realities of buying in London. Although a 25% top up to first-time buyers’ deposits will put power back into the hands of savers whose cash pots have been sapped by low interest rates, it may not be enough. Placing a finger on one side of the nation’s financial scales is only half the battle. It’s bricks and mortar that puts a roof over your head – let’s hope the London Land Commission do their homework. London can be housed. You just need to know where to look.”

An Orwellian whiff

Jamie Morrison, private client partner, HW Fisher & Company

On tax returns: “Few of Britain’s five million self-employed will mourn the passing of the annual tax return. The mad rush to dig out receipts in January is an annual torture for many.

“But the idea that the HMRC will simply automate everything is fanciful, and won’t help anyone other than those with the most straightforward tax affairs.

“And ditching the idea of self-assessment for state assessment of our tax liability has an Orwellian whiff to it.

“Rumours of the death of accountants are exaggerated too – the reality for most self-employed people is that they will continue to need expert help to get all the tax relief to which they’re entitled.

On tax evasion: “Pledging to make the rich – and global companies – ‘pay their fair share’ is as much a part of Budget tradition as the red despatch box and jabs at the opposition.

“But by any standards the Chancellor’s ambition to raise an extra £5bn a year for the Exchequer by clamping down on evasion is breathtakingly ambitious.

“Though he rattled off a list of specific measures to close tax loopholes, meeting that target could be a tall order.

“As for the tougher penalties planned for tax evaders, there’s no suggestion that this will reduce levels of evasion. Deliberate evasion is already a criminal offence, and the wider sanctions being planned increase the risk that people making genuine mistakes could end up with a criminal record.

On deeds of variation: “As the Milibands can attest, deeds of variation are an effective tool to allow families to arrange their legacies in a tax efficient way.

“But the prospect of changes to this area could force thousands of people to reassess their wills on a regular basis to make sure they are up to date.”

Help-to-Buy ISA, or Hinder-to-Buy?

Jonathan Samuels, CEO, Dragonfly Property Finance
“Help-to-Buy ISA, or Hinder-to-Buy? The irony of the Help-to-Buy ISA is that it may not help first-time buyers at all.
“Throwing £50 at first-time buyers for every £200 they save gets people into the savings habit, which is no bad thing.
“But if we’re not building more homes then it may well drive prices higher in the medium term as even more people compete for the same level of property.
“A first-time buyer might be able to put £15,000 rather than £12,000 down as a deposit, but if the property they want has risen even further in value due to the strength of demand, where has that got them?
“Academically, Help-to-Buy ISAs stack up. In the real world, however, where strong demand and weak supply are endemic, they are not quite so robust.
“If the supply issue were dealt with, then yes, the Help-to-Buy ISA could play an important role. The challenge, as ever, is to solve the housing shortage.”

All quiet on the pensions front

John Fox, Director, Liberty SIPP

“All quiet on the pensions front, although after last year’s howitzer few in the industry will be complaining.

“The reduction in the lifetime allowance from £1.25m to £1m is an easy win given the small percentage of people it will impact.

“Even then, indexing the lifetime allowance from 2018 gives something back to the very people the Chancellor has just pick-pocketed.

“Official confirmation of the ‘Great Annuity Escape’ will be music to the ears of many pensioners, and will serve as a veritable vote-winner for the Chancellor.

“The devil is in the detail, of course. Forget actuaries, the Chancellor will have to employ the services of Stephen Hawking to come up with a formula for calculating the value of annuities.

“Neither should we expect the annuity companies to offer great value if they are forced to buy their annuities back. Pensioners were punished on the way in and are just as likely to be punished on the way out.

“On a technical note, pension companies don’t keep their all their assets in cash, and they will need to sell huge amounts of other assets if there is a run on them. This could take many to breaking point and be potentially cataclysmic for the industry.”

We may see more people pile into the buy-to-let market as a result

Graham Davidson, Managing Director of Sequre Property Investment

On investment in the north: “Investment in the Health North initiative and chemical industry projects will accelerate employment and shine a light on the north as an area of innovation and opportunity that can compete at a global level. This will be further bolstered by the announcement permitting Greater Manchester to keep the money it raises in business rates, allowing it to continue driving the Northern Powerhouse forward.”

On letting pensioners turn back time: “Today’s pension freedom reform is welcome news to those who were forced to buy annuities years ago, many of which have performed badly and have resulted in hardship during retirement.

“A large proportion of annuities were mis-sold, today’s announcement gives pensioners a chance to turn back time allowing them to reconsider their options pragmatically – and we may see more people pile into the buy-to-let market as a result. The government does however have a responsibility to ensure that this demographic fully understands what is available to them, it should not rest entirely on the private sector.”

No party has a clear plan either on how to boost housing supply for the long-term

Adam Challis, Head of Residential Research at JLL

On help for first time buyers: “In this pre-election Budget housing remains a low priority as it is not a part of the winning election ticket. No party has a clear plan either on how to boost housing supply for the long-term – we need cross-party solutions to drive supply and an end to the politicisation of home-ownership. With build rates at barely half current need the long terms solutions for the supply crisis are more important now than ever.

“The Help to Buy ISA for first time buyers can only be seen as a positive, encouraging step, encouraging prudent saving at a time when savings rates available for building a deposit are currently very poor. High house price growth means savings still won’t keep up with deposit requirements. This measure is unlikely to have a significant impact on broader house price growth.”

Help-to-Buy ISA savers will need to be wary that the market may move at a faster rate than their ability to diligently save up deposits

Faisal Durrani, research manager at Cluttons

“We feel that this presents a further opportunity on the planning front to include housing for downsizers and those of retirement should they go down the route of monetising their homes to support the home ownership aspirations of their children. While this will increase the flow of properties to the market and recycle capital back into the market, we may see a surge in demand for smaller properties as children funded by parents and their parents themselves, look for a place to live.

“While London’s housing market continues to build on the 40% house price growth recorded during this parliament (Nationwide), it does however mean that those unable to access family funds run the risk of being denied access the property ladder and permanently locked out of the London housing market.

“There may be hope for those wishing to live in the capital, particularly if the government’s promise to unlock brownfield sites materialises. For years, the Government has fallen short of the required number of housing completions in London, which has been exacerbated by several waves of international capital seeking the safety of London’s bricks and mortar. However, with the dollar closing in on a 10% discount against sterling, we are on the cusp of another surge in overseas capital, which will compete directly with domestic home buyers.

“As young people strive in their careers and look to better themselves, it appears that they are doomed to remain financially dependent on their parents well into adulthood, particularly if they are to build their lives and careers in London. From a parents’ perspective this makes university fees look quite attractive.

“That said, with the announcement of a Help-to-Buy ISA, those without the privilege of access to family funding may find themselves on an equal footing with those that do. This is only as good as the underlying assets and ideally this ISA would provide the saver with some degree of exposure to the housing market. In London this will be even more important when you consider that values during this parliament have risen by £116,000 in Greater London (Nationwide) and £600,000 in prime Central London. Help-to-Buy ISA savers will need to be wary that the market may move at a faster rate than their ability to diligently save up deposits; something which could possibly stimulate a diverse range of other financial products, providing even greater access to the residential investment market.”

Really positive that the talk of mansion tax is receding

Simon Barnes, Simon Barnes Property Consultants

“My first reaction is that this is a very neutral budget, at least for prime central London property. However, I do feel that it is really positive that the talk (if not the threat) of mansion tax is receding, and there was no additional talk about Stamp Duty, both of which have caused instability and uncertainty in London, and not just in the prime market.

“For people who want to live in London and get on the property ladder the assistance with the help-to buy ISA can only be a good thing, and I welcome it. London will continue to thrive only if our own young people can afford to live in it.

“One thing which attracted my attention was the Budget commitment to 100% ultra-fast broadband for the whole country. I hope that this benefits people who work from home outside our big cities because they cannot afford to live in them. However, I do hope that the government commits the same level of service to inner city residential and business areas as well. It is difficult to understand why, for example, many parts of Mayfair lack a decent phone signal (3G or 4G) and the wi-fi and broadband speeds are ridiculously slow and unreliable for a business area in what is known as the financial capital of the world.”

Property advisors and buyers alike are breathing a collective sigh of relief

Mark Parkinson, Director at Middleton Advisors

“At first glance it seems that there is little relevant to property in this budget. The Help to Buy ISA should help some first time buyers but won’t benefit the scores of first time buyers that are helped out with lump sums from their parents. The fact that there are no property tax related surprises will have property advisors and buyers alike breathing a collective sigh of relief after December’s surprise stamp duty changes.  Generally speaking this budget should go down very well with middle England the £75 million in Libor fines going to injured service men is a clever touch.”

Good news that there weren’t any surprises

Matt Cobb, Director, Hatton Real Estate

“It’s good news that there weren’t any surprises in today’s budget with nothing that has an impact on the higher end of the residential market.

“We welcome any initiatives that assist first time buyers, however I can’t see it having an immediate impact but rather benefiting those looking to buy in a few years.  

“The change in pension rules could potentially have a positive effect on the residential market with pensioners perhaps considering buy to let property.”

Thoroughly uncontroversial

Howard Elston, Associate Director, Aylesford International

“I don’t really note any great changes. A first time buyer ISA may well help the lower end of the market. I felt he was going to remain thoroughly uncontroversial so as not to be seen to be trying to buy votes for the 7th May – that’s exactly what he seems to have done!”

Somewhat ‘vanilla’ from a prime London perspective

Mark Pollack, Director, Aston Chase

“The Budget would appear to be somewhat ‘vanilla’ from a prime London perspective.”

Failed to go far enough to boost the construction sector

Gavin Gleave, CEO of Front3 Group

“The Chancellor has failed to go far enough to boost the construction sector; neglecting a pledge to simplify the process of planning, construction and development of much needed housing.

“The introduction of £1 million in funding to unlock surplus public sector land and brownfield sites is a start, however further financial incentives, such as tax breaks to encourage this land to be used specifically for the private rented sector (PRS), would have taken a crucial step in the right direction to ensuring land is used for much needed homes.    

“An extension to PDRs to include light industrial units would have also gone a long way; as such opportunities would generally be well-located for residential development and can often be better suited for housing than offices.”

Goes someway to provide further comfort from the threat of ill-considered residential tax changes

Alex Murray, Director, Hanover Private Office 

“Looking at today’s budget it’s business as usual, which following the Autumn statement, is welcome news.  Hopefully this ‘neutral’ budget goes someway to provide further comfort from the threat of ill-considered residential tax changes which have been aired in the past.

“A very upbeat budget which was always going to be the case pre May’s election.”

Much-needed respite for the top end of the London property market

Charles McDowell of Charles McDowell Property Consultants

“Today’s Budget announcement seems to have provided a much-needed respite for investors at the top end of the London property market. With only 19 house sales in Kensington and Chelsea so far this year, perhaps the Chancellor has realised that his assault on these investors has impacted stamp duty receipts. Even the dip in the exchange rate against the US$ hasn’t incentivised investors the way it would have done a couple of years ago.”

Awaiting the revelation of the 20 ‘new housing zones’ with great expectations

Lee Layton, research analyst at Carter Jonas

“The proposed scheme will (like the Help-to-Buy equity loan & mortgage guarantee schemes) undoubtedly boost demand for starter homes, but unlike Help-to-Buy, this demand should be better distributed as participants save and enter the market at different times, preventing a possible super-charging at the lower end of the market.

“This initiative will not however alleviate the severe shortage of stock affordable to first time buyers; it will essentially create more demand. We were anticipating that this year’s Budget would address the escalating lack of supply and focus more on incentivising institutional investment in the Private Rented Sector, which would offer a bridge or transition for many people between the current levels of unaffordability of buying property and a longer-term rebalancing of the house price/affordability ratio. However we await the revelation of the 20 ‘new housing zones’ with great expectations.”

Good news for the prime country house market

Claire Owen, Senior Buying Consultant at The Buying Solution (Cotswolds)

“Many of our clients want to work from home and avoid a daily commute into London. Improvements to rural broadband and phone reception is good news for the prime country house market and we may see increased prices as this becomes more feasible.

“The announcement to invest in the Internet of Things is immensely exciting as it will eventually streamline workload in the office and at home. For now, it will reduce energy costs – particularly for small businesses , using cloud-based platforms to control how and when individual electric appliances, such as heating, air conditioning units and freezers consume energy across sites which will also be used in homes and controlled remotely.”

No news can be good news

Rachel Thompson, Partner at The Buying Solution (London)

“Often no news can be good news. It’s a relief that there isn’t a huge amount in today’s budget that is going to have a detrimental effect on the prime property markets, especially since there was so much announced in the December Statement, the effects of which are still being felt.

“Yes it’s great that there is a Help to Buy ISA but this is essentially a 5 year saving plan, so any immediate effects are negligible. It is certainly unlikely to have any effect long term on the London market as an additional £3000 is not likely to go too far when the predicted growth rate for Outer Prime Central London is 26% over the next 5 years.”

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