There was a fair bit of property related content in the Chancellor’s 2017 budget.

After years of campaigning, the budget included confirmation that Business Rates revaluations will now happen every three years (as opposed to every 5 years). This is a fundamental change that will make the system fairer and more responsive to changing economic circumstances and will be welcomed by businesses of all sizes.

Also confirmed was the abolishment of the so-called ‘staircase tax’ that had such a negative impact on small businesses, who will now benefit from significant savings. Let’s also hope local councils refund backdated liabilities immediately. There will be a continuation for another year of the £1000 rates discount for pubs with a rateable value of under £100,000.

On the residential side of things, there will be zero stamp duty for first time residential buyers up to £300,000. And if you buy a property for between £300,000 and £500,000, the relief will apply on the first £300,000. Properties bought for more than £500,000 won’t be affected by the changes. The government believes 95% of first-time buyers will benefit up to a maximum of £5,000, and 80% of first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty at all.

The government is aiming to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s through a combination of land reforms and funding packages. Currently, 270,000 properties with planning permission are sitting un-built in London alone, so Mr Hammond announced an urgent review into how homes are delivered and why permissions are not being acted upon.

Where local authorities are unduly delaying, the government confirmed it was prepared to intervene. Vacant residential properties will be subject to a 100% Council Tax surcharge, a move intended to encourage landlords to get vacant property occupied!