On March 13th 2018, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will present one of the shortest spring budget statements in years. Plans for: budgeting Brexit, diesel car tax and HS2, benefits and living wages will be touched upon. Most importantly for the property market, are stamp duty and tenant fee bans.
We have asked our members what they hope to hear from this year’s Spring Statement and any predictions they may have.
“Predictions are positive in many respects and there has been a flurry of activity in the first couple of months of 2018. We can be hopeful that the Stamp Duty changes introduced last year will stimulate further activity and encourage sellers to place their properties on the market. Overall our firm takes the long-term view and we believe the market will remain active in the geographical areas that we operate from during the course of this year.”
“We need to focus on actions that will really boost the property market across the UK, not just on a local level. Our wish in property sales is also to see removal of the surcharge. It is apparent that far fewer investors are entering our local market.
“I predict that nothing will really change, the Stamp Duty ban for first-time buyers made in the autumn hasn’t had a vast impact in my area of Yorkshire so far, but I am sure it will help over time.
“I hope that the government will introduce new legislation for landlords. The current financial penalties and scrutiny, albeit often necessary, make it unviable for a lot of landlords to buy new properties or keep their existing ones. If there is no change, rents will rise to cover the extra costs that they face and there will be fewer properties available for rent. As for the tenant fee ban, there are legitimate costs that agents have when it comes to processing tenancy applications, not to mention the risks we face with all the changes in legislation. Therefore, I think cap them, but don’t ban them.”
“High on my wish list for the Spring Statement would be a change to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for second-home purchases. The higher rate came into effect after the 2015 Autumn Statement, and since then the buy-to-let market has been stifled. Decreasing, or even scrapping, the additional surcharge would assist in opening up the market for investors.
“However, I predict that there won’t be any changes to SDLT when the Chancellor makes his announcement, as first-time buyer relief has only recently been announced in November 2017. The statement is more likely to focus on Brexit and maintaining certainty in a time of great change.”
“From a lettings point of view, a concession on the 3 per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax imposed on landlords is desirable to re-start the buy-to-let market. Also, due to the shrinking amount of available rental property versus the growing demand, some tax breaks for investors may encourage them to invest in the private rental sector.
“We would like to see an easing of Stamp Duty with the aim of encouraging more homeowners to move. The current rates have become an increasingly expensive burden, which has cause the market difficulties seen recently in many places. There is no doubt that the south east, in particular, has suffered from the upfront Stamp Duty fees, while the uncertainty of the market continues.”