The UK Autumn Budget proved that despite the government’s latest initiatives in addressing housing affordability for firsthome buyers, landlords remain pivotal to the supply of housing in the UK.
At a glance, the Autumn Budget (Oct 29) had good news for first-time house buyers in the reduction of stamp duty on jointly-owned property. The relief applies to homes of up to £500,000 and is in addition to the first-time buyer stamp duty exemption announced last year.
The Chancellor also declared that the government would allocate £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built. This is on top of the previous pledge of 300,000 homes per year, on average, to raise housing supply by the mid-2020s.
Alongside the newly announced stamp duty relief for first home buyers, this is a laudable measure to alleviate housing unaffordability, yet there remains a lack in optimism where the issue of housing supply is concerned.
Landlords & Private Rental Sector: A Necessity to Solve UK Housing Woes
Historically, the UK has been plagued by a chronic shortage of housing. Not only had the government failed to meet its previous target of building 240,000 homes by 2016 (a target set in 2007), it had also changed Housing Ministers 16 times — more than 20 times faster than the average UK homeowner moves houses!
A research by Heriot-Watt University shows that the undersupply has become even more critical: England alone faces a backlog of 4 million houses.
More houses are needed to address homelessness as well as skyrocketing house prices and rents. And this is where the private rental sector comes in. Not only are landlords pivotal in ensuring the supply of rental housing for the growing number of young people unable to afford their own homes, they also provide flexibility for millennials who prefer to rent.
New research has shown that UK property remains a lucrative investment with 88% of landlords able to gain a profit, as the imbalance in supply and demand continue to drive rental prices.
Updated Incentives/Exemptions for Landlords
Investors and landlords can look forward to the following updates moving forward:
(a) PERSONAL ALLOWANCE
Landlords can claim an increased personal allowance amount of £12,500 off their taxes in 2019/20. The personal allowance is currently at £11,850.
(b) CGT ANNUAL EXEMPTION
The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) annual exemption will be increased from £11,700 in 2018/19 to £12,000in 2019/20.
Potential SDLT surcharge
Some weeks ago, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the possibility of a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge of 1% – 3% to be imposed on overseas landlords/ property buyers from Jan 2019.
The government has now revealed that it will propose a surcharge amounting to only 1% during the Budget, and that a consultation on the surcharge will be published in January. Stay tuned as we continue to monitor the news and provide updates in due course.
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By Lydia Devadas
Edits & additions by Vivienne Pal
These next two months will be the last for foreign investors to make substantial savings on Perth property purchases. Come Jan 2019, Western Australia will join the rest of the country in imposing a stamp duty surcharge on foreign property buyers in the state.
Earlier this year, the Western Australia (WA) government announced that foreign buyers of residential property in the state will have to pay a stamp duty surcharge of 7%. WA is the last state in the country to impose a stamp duty surcharge on foreign property buyers.
The tax will be in force from 1st Jan 2019, and brings WA into line with the rest of Australia in imposing a foreign purchaser duty surcharge. This surcharge is now imposed by the six Australian states and the ACT at varying rates and scope.
Australian citizens, Permanent Residents and special category visa holders do not need to pay this tax.
Corporations and trusts are not exempted as long as foreign interests in the entity exceed 50%.
Residential developments with 10 or more lots are excluded from the tax.
Industry players like the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) have opposed the tax. Its outgoing President, Hayden Groves said the tax will cause an upward pressure on rental prices.
A turn for the better
Perth’s median house price for September was at $505,000, 1% lower compared to last year YOY. Comparatively, 3 years ago the median house price was declining at a more significant pace, recording a 4.2% decline between September 2015 and September 2014.
Although prices in Perth remain soft, the decline of house prices has slowed, which is good news and an indicator that prices are starting to bottom out. Improved affordability in the Perth housing market presents investors with an excellent opportunity to get in before the additional stamp duty kicks in on Jan 1st, 2019 and prices start to rise again.
Incoming REIWA president Damian Collins said that in this quarter leasing activity was up, median rents remained stable, stock levels had reduced, average leasing times were quicker and the vacancy rate had plummeted to its lowest level in more than four years.
Perth’s vacancy rate declined to 3.9% during the September 2018 quarter – the lowest level Perth has experienced since the March 2014 quarter.
Mr Collins said, “With all key market indicators improving during the September quarter, Perth’s vacancy rate has now fallen below the 10 year average.
“The rental sector is really leading the charge in the Perth property market recovery. The September 2018 quarter results are very encouraging and should provide landlords and investors with a lot of confidence.”
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