Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will have a go at balancing the nation’s books today and the main thing agents seem to want is stability.
It comes after his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget of unfunded tax cuts riled financial markets and pushed up mortgage pricing.
This eventually led to the Kwarteng being sacked and Liz Truss resigning as Prime Minister after only a couple of months in the role.
Almost two months after that mini-Budget, Hunt is expected to deliver tax rises and spending cuts.
He has already warned of tough times ahead as the UK aims to reduce its deficit, bring inflation down and navigate a likely recession.
Few, if any, giveaways are expected and Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, called on “another Jeremy” to keep the property and financial markets as calm as possible.
He said: “We have already been told we will all be paying more tax. However, what we don’t want to see is the chancellor’s actions reducing the already-falling number of property transactions, as well as adding to the shortage of affordable homes for sale and to rent.
“Active buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants are not only good for the property market but for job and social mobility in view of their multiplier effect on so many other businesses. For instance, landlords may not always be popular but we need them in order to increase choice of rental property and reduce upwards pressure on rents.”
Leaf suggested a new version of Help to Buy that offers genuine assistance for first-time buyers struggling to raise deposits and doesn’t inflate house prices would be welcome.
There are rumours of higher capital gains tax or a cut in the tax-free allowance, which Leaf warned would only speed up sales by landlords and push up rents.
Paul Cosgrove, director of estate agent Finlay Brewer, said Hunt must inspire confidence in the market.
He said: “After a sustained period of political turmoil and uncertainty buyers have been probably more spooked than necessary which has caused them to pause before they make their next move. We are seeing signs of the market beginning to settle given the most recent interest rate increase with the Bank of England intimating that this could be the last for a while.
“We are confident that the Autumn Statement will crystalise the ‘new normal’ and therefore it is a critical budget for this Government.
“It is a crucial opportunity to turn the tide and demonstrate that the Chancellor is a steady and trusted hand that he can and will take control of the situation which will ultimately stabilise many of the variables that have impacted the market recently. This will enable us to start the New Year with clarity and confidence in a more cohesive market.”
Bertie Russell, director of prime London agent Russell Simpson, added: “Following a consistent period of activity and steady values, there have been reports of a drop in activity levels and a slight decrease in values of around .0.3% since the mini-Budget, so we are looking for the Autumn Statement to right some of the wrongs and bring some stability back to the market.
“Hopefully, the new Prime Minister and his Chancellor will put forward policies that have been made with the health of the economy, which will only be a positive going into the New Year.”