Local authorities will be able to charge a 100% Council Tax surcharge to people who own properties without any tenants, from the current level of 50%.
The measure is not expected to raise significant amounts for the Treasury, but it’s a symbolic move by chancellor Philip Hammond, critics said.
He also laid out plans to create 300,000 new homes a year and to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers.
Blane Perrotton, managing director of national surveyors Naismiths, said: “The 100% Council Tax premium on empty properties may not amount to much financially but it represents a tougher stance by the government that should be applauded.”
John Phillips, group operations director for Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, added: “The chancellor promised a Budget that was good for the housing market, and in the main, he has delivered, with pledges to pour £44bn into building new homes, clamping down on empty properties and cutting stamp duty for first time buyers.”
The government has also launched a fintech competition to make rent history count toward mortgage affordability, changes to rental benefits and the Chancellor’s speech in full.
The Office for Budget Responsibility and Building Societies Association have criticised the stamp duty cut, meanwhile Mortgage Solutions has dug out a series of hidden measures and rounded-up the best of the coverage.