Property Outlook 2017
The discussion, hosted by Brachers, Caxtons and Crowe Clark Whitehill, brought together a group of Kent’s commercial and residential property specialists and their advisors who met to discuss the changes for the sector post-Brexit. The event also included a presentation from Phil Eckersley, South East agent for the Bank of England.
Urgent action needed to help housing crisis
- Reduce Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
- Allow development on suitable areas of Green Belt land
- Reduce red tape if it is to increase the pace of housebuilding
- The potential tax fallout of the UK leaving the EU is hampering confidence
- Of more immediate concern is the Housing White Paper published on 7 February 2017, which could have gone much further in its efforts to tackle the UK’s housing crisis
- If the Government is to achieve its ambition to intensify the pace of house building across the country it needs to rethink tax policy, notably cutting SDLT, and allow development on suitable areas of Green Belt land
- The Bank of England expects growth to be stronger over the forecast period than in November 2016, with the economy now projected to expand by 2.0% in 2017 and around 1.75% thereafter.
- This upgrade will leave the level of UK output around 1% higher over the next three years than expected in November
Property and planning
- While there is general optimism about the post Brexit property market in Kent and the wider South East, we urgently need to address the lack of supply of new or good quality commercial property for business, as well as a lack of focus on commercial development if we are to ensure we are best placed for our new relationship with Europe.
- Developers remain frustrated by the planning system and the amount of red tape being put in their way, with the process also being too political.
- Efforts to fund larger planning departments are to be welcomed as they remain under resourced leading to poor advice, delays and inconsistencies in the planning process, although there are notable differences in performance between different authorities in Kent.
- The recent Housing White Paper does not go far enough in facilitating development.
- Whilst the focus on incentivising Local Planning Authorities to improve delivery is to be welcomed the practical measures which may be introduced are unlikely to result in a step change in delivery. Many individuals seeking more flexibility in their property commitments in anticipation of the changes ahead.
- Kent has always had a lot to offer the business community and all are confident this is set to continue.
Brachers provides legal expertise across all aspects of real estate from property investment and asset management to secured lending, property development and management to infrastructure projects.
Our Property law team combines lawyers from a range of disciplines including construction, planning, agriculture, environmental and property litigation.
Our reputation is built upon the wide range of work we do with a varied range of land owners, investors, developers, occupiers and lenders.