The second half of 2016 was spent monitoring the effects of the Government’s changes on loan interest and the introduction of higher stamp duty land tax for buy-to-let investors.
With investors purchasing a property with a view to renting it out now subject to an additional 3% of stamp duty, there were concerns in the industry that this could lead to a diminished demand from buy-to-let investors. However, we have found that the overwhelming majority of landlord investors remain undeterred.
These purchasers are taking a medium- to long-term view on the hike in stamp duty and, with the rental market in the capital recognised as a safe investment, we have not seen a significant decline in enquiries from landlord investors.
As a result, we predict the buy-to-let market to remain strong throughout 2017. There will inevitably be a slight price adjustment in the early months of the year, as purchasers continue to factor in the higher rates of stamp duty, however, this is nothing out of the ordinary as prices can ebb and flow throughout any given year.
The introduction in April last year of an extra 3 per cent surcharge on stamp duty for buyers who already own a property anywhere in the world has caused a dramatic slowdown in the number of higher-end properties changing hands. From April to September last year, sales of prime central London properties priced between £1 million and £5 million fell by nearly 40 per cent, and there was a 53 per cent decline in the number of transactions on properties over £5 million, according to LonRes. The stamp duty on a home costing £1 million is £43,750 if it is the buyer’s only property, or £73,750 if it is an additional home.