NEWS: Rules and regulations
It's been a turbulent time for the rental industry of late, with new rules coming into force that could make a significant impact on the market. The recent additional 3% stamp duty on second homes, for instance, has been followed by a regulation (first announced in the summer budget) that landlords won't be able to deduct 'wear and tear' from rental receipts before income tax is applicable. Some pundits believe that both of these measures will push up the price of rents; and one survey found that the stamp duty rise on second homes would discourage three-quarters of landlords from buying more properties.
In other headlines, the National Audit Office has found that The Green Deal — the government's energy-saving programme that folded last July — cost taxpayers £240million, but failed to deliver 'meaningful benefit' on energy and carbon emissions. Only 14,000 households took out Green Deal loans.
NEWS: Did George blow his budget?
It's probably fair to say that George Osborne's budget wasn't a resounding success. In fact, there was so much fall-out from it — namely the Iain Duncan-Smith resignation — that it was easy to forget that some of what the Chancellor said at the dispatch box had significant implications for the property market.
For instance, landlords reacted with dismay to the announcement that residential property sales would be exempt from cuts to the rate of capital gains tax (CGT). And if anyone thought the Government would U-turn on the introduction of higher rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on purchases of buy-to-let properties and second homes, they were disappointed. In fact, it's been reported that the number of buy-to-let mortgages increased recently as landlords rushed to beat the changes (a 3% surcharge on stamp duty) that came in on 1 April…
Crowd controlled: Budget 2016
Oh joy: it's that time of the year again when the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up at the dispatch box in the House of Commons to announce his Budget. Which means that this month — on 16 March, to be precise — we'll know what George Osborne has in store for the property sector. Unusually, the Treasury has crowdsourced this budget by asking members of the public to submit their own tax and spend ideas via a website. So we'll see how many of those get through...
The other big news is the European referendum, which David Cameron has announced will take place on 23 June. The big unfathomable question is: what will happen to UK property prices if there's a Brexit?
NEWS: Good to share
New year, new deal. The Government has announced that it is relaxing the rules of shared ownership — homes which people can part-buy and part-rent — so that, from April, those earning below £80,000 in England (£90,000 in London) will be eligible for the scheme. “By relaxing some of the existing restrictions, a potential 175,000 aspiring homeowners will be given the opportunity to own their own home, as well as allowing existing shared ownership homeowners the opportunity to step up the ladder,” says Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents. “However, as with all housing promises, they can’t come quick, or big enough.”
The Government also announced that it is imposing a five-year limit on new tenancies for council houses, meaning that tenants will no longer have the right to live in their council homes for life.