Will the duty rise stamp out the buy to let market?

Will the duty rise stamp out the buy to let market?

Chancellor George Osborne's imminent 3% stamp duty rise might be good for first time buyers, but what does it mean for property investors?

Jimmy King, board director at Pierce Chartered Accountants, explains: "As of 1st April 2016, the stamp duty rules are changing. Any purchase of a second property costing more than £40,000 will be subject to an additional 3% stamp duty, on top of any stamp duty already to be paid.

In addition, from 2017 onwards, the rules restricting tax relief on mortgage interest will be reduced from 40-45%, ultimately to 20%, squeezing the profits gained from any rental income.

The chancellor introduced these measures to support first time buyers, but what can you do if you want to invest in property for residential letting?

Window of opportunity

From now until April 5 2016 there will be no change in the stamp duty rise, so would-be investors could look at buying property quickly. Advise your agent and the seller that you are looking to complete before April 5 and ensure this is written into your contract.


If you do wish to invest quickly, look for properties with no chain or try buying a property at auction, where you will complete in 28 days.

Since the chancellor’s announcement in the autumn budget, there has been a measurable rise in the sale of one and two bed properties. Indeed The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported an unusually buoyant December and suggests this is in part due to investors rushing to beat the stamp duty change.

However, this has been mirrored by an upward trend in prices – which is beginning to distort the market. You may find that the price you have paid for a property is not retained post April 5 and should take advice when looking to buy.

The benefits of using a company?

There is some hope for property investors, but it’s not a simple solution. Companies will not be subject to the restriction on relief for interest paid on loans to purchase residential properties for letting.

Purchasing property and operating as a landlord through a limited company may therefore be an attractive option post April 5.

Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect solution. If you wish to invest in more property, transferring existing property ownership from yourself to a limited company could incur capital gains tax (CGT); dependent on whether you are sat on profit or not (ie. has the property increased in value from the time you bought it).

For new property purchases post 5 April buying through a limited company should however be considered, but only if you don’t want to make a quick turnaround profit, as in these instances the annual CGT allowance available to individuals will prove very beneficial. If landlords however want to hold properties for long term capital growth operating through a company is now a more attractive option.

Even though this may be a possible solution, it’s a complicated area as access to finance in a limited company can prove more costly and can be very difficult to obtain. This issue may ease if enough people look to limited companies for property ownership as a future solution.

As this area is so complicated and each and every case will be different, investors looking to set up a limited company to buy and manage property should always seek independent financial advice.

Investing in regeneration

There is one area of the market where George Osborne’s increased stamp duty will not apply and that is the purchase of second properties that are worth £40k or less.

Will this mean that the buy-to-let landlord is the new social regenerator, investing in areas where there has been none and boosting up property markets in areas that are flat or still declining? That’s a distinct possibility.

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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