The Chancellor, George Osborne delivered his 2016 Budget today. But what was in it for property?
From a boost in flood defences and savings pots, to the final details of the controversial 3% Stamp Duty surcharge, we’ve pulled out six of the most important property-related takeaways from his speech.
1. First-time buyers saving for a deposit given a boost
The Chancellor announced a new Lifetime ISA which will be available from April 2017 for savers who are aged under 40. Holders of the Help to Buy ISA, which launched last December, will be able to roll up any savings into the Lifetime ISA without losing their tax-free benefits.
Total savings into ISAs each tax year – whether used to buy your first home, move up the property ladder or other purposes – will leap from £15,240 to £20,000 from April 2017.
And earlier this week, the Government launched its Help to Save scheme, for lower earners. We’ve rounded up the details we’ve been given so far in this article.
Would 3% extra Stamp Duty put you off buying a second home?— Zoopla (@Zoopla) March 16, 2016
2. Osborne's 3% Stamp Duty surcharge pressing ahead from April
The Chancellor stuck to his guns on implementing a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on the purchase of additional properties – the loading will come into effect from 1 April as planned. We’ve updated our 3% Stamp Duty Q&A to reflect the final details.
Based on the £290,902 current average value of a UK home, the new 3% loading will see prospective landlords and second homeowners see their Stamp Duty bill soar from £4,545 to £13,272.
Zoopla’s Lawrence Hall said the tax was misguided: “The Stamp Duty on buy-to-let properties will ultimately make renting more expensive – which in turn eats into people's ability to save towards a deposit. In an attempt to reduce demand by some buyers, it ignores the fact that the private rental sector provides is an essential service for millions of adults who are happy to rent, especially in their 20s and 30s.”
Did you know?: The 3% surcharge won’t apply to property priced under £40,000. Here are 6 homes on Zoopla that fit the bill.
The Chancellor confirmed in his Budget that larger residential property investors will be liable for the 3% surcharge – in the Government’s initial consultation, investors ‘bulk buying’ 15 or more residential homes had been earmarked for exemption.
The 18-month window during which time those buying a new main residence but unable to sell their previous one, could claim a refund of the 3% surcharge, will be doubled to 36 months. The same grace period will apply if a main residence is sold but there is a delay on the purchase of a new one.
Osborne said he will use the additional tax raised to support community-led housing developments, such as a £20m project to help young families onto the housing ladder in the South West of England.
He also announced a major new package of support worth over £115 million to support those who are homeless and reduce rough sleeping.
3. Stamp Duty slashed on commercial property
Buyers of commercial property will benefit from a cut in Stamp Duty rates. This includes a zero band on purchase prices of up to £150,000; a 2% rate on the next £100,000; and a 5% top rate above £250,000.
The Chancellor described the move, which kicks in from midnight tonight, as, “a big tax cut for small firms”. Find out more about the changes with our article.
4. More investment for homes in high flood-risk areas
Osborne pledged to provide a £700m boost to flood defences for the UK’s homes and businesses. He will use funds raised from hiking Insurance Premium Tax by half a percentage point – a move he estimates will only translate into an extra £1 a year on the average home insurance bill.
Flood defence schemes have been given the go-ahead in York, Leeds, Calder Valley, Carlisle and across Cumbria.
5. High speed rail links are full steam ahead
The Chancellor gave the green light to the High Speed 3 rail service between Leeds and Manchester. This will reduce journey times by 40% and – according to Jonny Reynolds, the MP for Stalybridge and Hyde – will allow people to live easily in one northern city and work in another, a pivotal factor when it comes to where to buy a home.
Osborne is taking recommendations from the National Infrastructure Commission on northern connectivity and committing £300m towards High Speed 3 and road upgrades. This includes a new Trans-Pennine tunnel under the Peak District, running between Sheffield and Manchester.
He also commissioned Crossrail 2, which will connect south west and north east London, while reducing congestion on the Tube network and pressure on Victoria and Waterloo stations. The government will be putting £80m towards the project.
The first Crossrail – or the Elizabeth Line as it’s now known – has already had a dramatic impact on the property prices along the route (see below for our infographic) and Crossrail 2 could have a similar effect.
6. Capital Gains Tax reductions – but not for residential property
The Chancellor slashed the rate of Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 20% for higher-rate taxpayers, and 18% to 10% for basic-rate taxpayers. But buy-to-let investors won't benefit, as the reduced rate will not apply to residential property.
What did you make of this year’s Budget? Tell us by posting a comment below...