Spring Statement Round-up

Added on April 13th 2017

Everyone was waiting for Chancellor Phillip Hammond to mention the property market in his spring budget speech – they waited, and waited…and nothing happened.

There was a lot of anticipation about changes to the Stamp Duty bands, as well as news for private landlords and buy-to-let investors, but precious little was mentioned. There was, in fact, no word about property whatsoever, despite last autumn’s promises.

In November 2016, Hammond promised to put more money into a huge new housebuilding project, as well as into more shared ownership and help-to-buy initiatives. This all sounded good, but now…nothing.

This leaves investors and landlords still facing steep and almost punishing Stamp Duty bills – the average Stamp Duty bill in London is £21,000, with BTL buyers even worse off. The extra charges on second homes and BTL properties still remain, as do the increased taxes that landlords and investors have been hit by.

The fact there was no mention of the property market last month leaves many worried that the government doesn’t have any plans in the pipeline at all. At least, not for smaller landlords or people letting out one or two properties for some extra cash each year.

Empty promises

A nationwide building programme is both laudable and long overdue, as is any initiative to help first-time buyers. However, it seems that the government is focusing more on big developers and businesses – the ones who can afford to dream and build big – and forgetting all about the little guy. The guys looking for a comfortable retirement or a property to pass onto the grandchildren.

The squeezed middle

Hammond has been piping about investment into construction projects, tax breaks for builders and construction companies so that they can concentrate on closing the housing supply gap. Whether this will ever happen is to be seen, but what is certain is that the smaller landlords are really feeling the squeeze. They are taxed on turnover not profit, their rental incomes can bump them up a tax bracket and they still have to find huge Stamp Duty payments. Many are, as a result, wondering if these investments are actually worth it anymore.

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