Clare Tobin, Leaders’ Chief Operating Officer:
“The initiatives announced in the Autumn Statement to increase housing supply are very welcome and cannot come to fruition soon enough. However, with the housebuilding industry in desperate need of resource, we are concerned about how the building of the 400,000 new homes that have been promised will actually be achieved.
“The announcement of further initiatives to help first-time buyers with more affordable housing is also welcome, however given that wages are still nowhere near keeping up with property prices – which are likely to keep rising as we wait for enough new homes to be built - it remains to be seen how affordable it proves to be for most people.
“In the meantime, a healthy private rental sector is absolutely essential to the housing market, for those who either cannot or do not wish to buy. The plan to increase stamp duty by 3 per cent on the purchase of buy-to-let properties is disappointing, given the importance of privately rented property to this county’s housing needs, however we do not foresee it having a substantial impact.
“Existing landlords will be unaffected and new investment will be considered alongside the returns available elsewhere. With pension contributions heavily restricted, many will continue to invest in property. The lettings market will continue to see strong demand and if supply is further constrained, rents will rise, yields will increase, and investors will view 3 per cent extra stamp duty as insignificant.
“Since the stamp duty levy will not take effect until 1st April, still 17 weeks away, it is likely we will see a rush of investors buying before then. Anyone who has been considering buying or selling an investment property must now act quickly to complete their transaction before 1st April. Sales of leasehold properties take an average of 12 to 16 weeks to complete from offer so it is possible, if the process begins now, to complete a transaction in time to save thousands of pounds.
“Buying the right property in the right location will be crucial to success, as will correctly calculating rental yields, tax liability and profitability. It is now more important than ever to consult a knowledgeable expert such as Leaders to make the right decisions at every stage. We will give landlords expert guidance to help them meet the challenges they face and get the most from their investment property or portfolio, now and in the long-term.”
For advice you can trust on all aspects of letting and buying-to-let please contact your local Leaders branch.