George Osborne’s Budget of 16th March included a number of housing and property-related announcements, but no headline grabbing measures as seen in last year’s Autumn Statement and Summer Budget.
As expected, the 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on the purchase of second homes, including buy-to-let properties, will go ahead from 1st April 2016. It was also confirmed that larger investors will not be exempt from the stamp duty changes.
Disappointingly, landlords will not benefit from cuts to Capital Gains Tax being introduced from 6th April. CGT will be cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent for higher rate taxpayers and from 18 per cent to 10 per cent for basic rate taxpayers. However the new rates will not apply to chargeable gains accruing on the disposal of residential property (that do not qualify for private residence relief).
Responding to the Budget, Paul Weller, Leaders’ CEO, said: “A healthy private rental sector is absolutely essential to the UK’s housing market, for those who either cannot or do not wish to buy, so it is again disappointing to see a Budget which penalises the backbone of the sector, private landlords.
“However, although many landlords will be carefully reviewing their investments and future plans in light of the recent measures, the government’s initiatives will not, as some are predicting, have a major impact on the market. With pension contributions heavily restricted, interest rates on savings at an historic low, and the stock market as volatile as ever, many continue to view property as the safest place for their money, giving the best returns over the long term.
“The private rented sector will continue to be a crucial supply of much-needed housing in the UK, with up to a quarter of all households expected to fall into it by 2025. With demand set to remain exceptionally high - and prices and rents rising - landlords and new investors will continue to invest with confidence in an asset that has demonstrated consistent growth over more than two decades.”
Mr Weller points out that seeking professional advice from a letting expert such as Leaders will be more important than ever to ensure landlords make the right decisions, keep on top of legislative changes and make the most of every opportunity to maximise their returns.
Also introduced in the Budget was a change to the commercial stamp duty system along similar lines to the residential tax system reforms in 2014. The 'slab' system will be replaced with a more progressive 'slice' system. Purchasers of commercial property will pay 0 per cent up to £150,000, 2 per cent on the next £100,000 and 5 per cent above £250,000.
The Chancellor also announced a Lifetime ISA aiming to help those under 40 on to the housing ladder. Similar to the Help to Buy ISA, this initiative will enable younger people to save up to £4,000 each year with an annual bonus of up to £1,000 paid by the government until the age of 50. The Lifetime Isa will be launched in April 2017.
For professional advice on all aspects of letting, selling, buying or renting in the UK contact your local Leaders branch.