The ins and outs of the 2015 Autumn Statement
by Paul Barnes
The on going housing crisis and battle between landlords and first-time buyers were the key points on the agenda at Chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 Autumn Statement on 25 November 2015.
Whilst most of the content was pretty predictable, there were some surprises thrown into the mix, specifically in the buy-to-let arena.
What are the new tax rules for landlords?
A new additional 3% Stamp Duty will be applied to any properties that are bought by landlords to let or as second homes.
For example, up until now, when purchasing of a £100,000 property to let out or to use as a second home, a buyer would not pay any Stamp Duty under the rules that were brought in from last year’s Autumn Statement.
However, from April 2016, this same property will be subject to a 3% Stamp Duty fee, meaning an additional £3,000 cost.
Read the table below for a further breakdown:
Landlords and first-time buyers have been stuck in something of a “civil war” in recent times, with landlords being blamed as being part of the reason that first-time buyers are currently struggling to get onto the property ladder due to the sheer number of properties that landlords own.
Of course, the real issue is the lack of a housing supply and this is the million dollar question that George Osborne is very keen to answer!
Does this mean that it will be easier for people to buy their first homes?
The number of landlords will inevitably fall following the new rules, freeing up properties for buyers and George Osborne also stated that the money raised from the Stamp Duty changes will go towards helping those who are struggling to buy their first property, an amount expected to be around £1bn by 2021.
What will that £1bn go towards?
The good news is that there is going to be a lot of investment in first-time buyer schemes in the coming years.
More help in the form of the Starter Homes scheme was spoken about during Osborne’s speech. Announced last year, the Starter Homes scheme will see new homes offered at a 20% discount on prices up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 around the rest of the country
The Government also pledged to invest in Shared Ownership schemes around the country, promising 135,000 Shared Ownership properties, which will reduce rent for tenants that are saving for deposits.
London has always been treated as an entity within the UK as it tends to follow its own trends due to the high-net-worth properties and varied clientele, which includes a high number of expats.
Osborne explained that a London Help to Buy scheme is to be introduced which will see buyers with a deposit offered the chance to take out an interest-free loan worth up to 40% of the value of the property for up to five years.
Think of it as a more generous version of the Help to Buy scheme seen around the rest of the country, but one that is needed in the capital.
What happens next?
Other than the upcoming Stamp Duty changes for landlords which take place in April 2016, most of the schemes announced during Osborne’s speech have already been put into place.
It is expected, or rather, hoped that these substantial changes will begin to address the housing crisis that has inhibited first-time buyers from getting onto the property in the last five years.
And whilst, landlords may feel unfairly and harshly treated (although rents could rise accordingly), first-time buyers should be feeling the positives by the end of 2016.
The question that should be asked then is, as Osborne is probably going to freeze out 90% of the country's small-medium landlords, does he have a plan for them?