Colliers International has commented on the following:

• The economic impact
• Development and housing market impact – Garden Cities
• Retail sector impact
• Impact of environmental measures

Walter Boettcher, Colliers International, Chief Economist & Forecaster said: “Measures to entrench an incipient rebalancing of the UK economy through investment incentives, export support and energy cost relief are all well targeted, by the Chancellor.  From a property perspective, measures to stimulate development of a new generation of business space capable of accommodating this expansion, would have been equally welcome.  Lack of quality and technically sophisticated space UK wide may well act to dampen the potential upside of increased investment in manufacturing and export.  Perhaps the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme should have been accompanied by a Help to Spec scheme.

“Liberalisation of personal investment and pension vehicles, especially in relation to annuity requirements, has the potential to give rise to a whole new generation of investment products targeted to the evolving needs of future retirees.  Given Solvency II and other regulatory threats to existing pensions and insurance providers, the implications for property allocations are potentially large if yet unknown. One possibility is a movement away from traditional pension fund investing and into direct small scale private property investment. This also presents interesting possibilities for PRS and related schemes, and raises questions over home ownership in the UK.”

Jonathan Manns, Associate Director of Planning at Colliers International, said: “Nationally, the Government needs in excess of 3,000,000 new homes by 2020. In London, a population increase of 25% is anticipated by 2030 taking the city from 8.3 million residents to 10 million. The delivery of 15,000 homes at Ebbsfleet, in a location with existing infrastructure and planning permissions in place, therefore fundamentally fails to address the current housing crisis.

“Likewise, references to a new “Garden City” in South-East of England will provide scant reassurance to the towns and cities of the country’s now disbanded regions which continue to face considerable challenges in delivering economic growth. The Government’s brazen failure to confront serious questions about housing growth, green belt development and strategic matters risks delaying the recovery on the grounds of political expediency.”

Paul Souber, Head of Central London Retail Agency, comments: “The retail sector will be pleased with the OBR’s revised growth predictions and the tackling of the budget deficit; coupled with the predicted rise in real wages.  In addition, the boost to savings that Chancellor announced through ISA’s and pension reforms should feed through to an increase in consumer spending.”

“Disappointingly, the measures that the Chancellor used to address the rating issue didn’t go far enough in tackling a rating system crying out for reform.  Cutting £1,000 from retailer’s rates bills is a drop in the ocean.  What would have really benefitted retailers would have been an immediate Rating Revaluation and a commitment to overhaul how business rates are calculated.”

Philip Harrison, Director, Rating said: “The Chancellor referred to the recently announced £1,000 annual business rate reduction for retail properties as further evidence of this government’s pro-enterprise credentials. There is no doubt that this short-term relief is warmly welcomed by ratepayers. However, the reality is that by postponing the 2015 rating revaluation, a golden opportunity to redistribute the burden of business rates falling on UK retailers more fairly was thrown away.”
David Eynon, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Colliers International said: “By altering the frame work of the Carbon Price Floor, and exempting Combined Heat and Power, the Government’s scrutiny of "Green Levies" continues. This will be warmly received by many boardrooms across the country.

“That said, whilst the Chancellor announced on-going wider commitment to renewables and new nuclear resources, another alteration to UK Carbon Policy may negatively impact on the likelihood of attracting foreign investment into new schemes such as Offshore Wind. It also may have a wider impact on perceptions in the market of the certainty around pending environmental legislation, and deter early action to address the potential associated risks."