Property tax changes in England and Scotland weigh on prime country house market

Prime country house prices in the UK rose by 0.7% between July and September, continuing the modest upward trend of growth that started in early 2013, the latest research report shows.

Prices have shifted upwards now for 11 consecutive quarters with annual growth also up slightly to 2.7% on average, up from 2.3% in the second quarter but down from a recent high of 5.2% in 2014.

The market continues to feel the impact of the increased cost of stamp duty, following the Autumn Statement in December 2014, according to the report from real estate firm Knight Frank.

It says that this continues to weigh on both price growth and activity at the top end of the market. In fact, the latest figures from the Land Registry show that between January and July there have been 35% fewer sales with a value above £1.5m outside of London compared to the same period last year.

The prime market below £1.5 million has been less affected by these tax changes and prices for homes in this sector have risen by nearly 4% annually over the year to September. In comparison, over the same time properties priced above £1.5 million, the point at which the 12% rate of stamp duty kicks in, have risen by 2%.

Under £1.5 million, price growth has generally been underpinned by demand for homes in urban centres. Price growth in town and city markets including Bristol, Bath and Oxford for example, where buyers continue to be attracted by good schooling, amenities and transport links, has outperformed the wider prime market.

‘There remains a significant price differential between property prices in the prime country market and in London, while anecdotal evidence from agents suggests that there is pent up demand from buyers in the Home Counties and the South West. This could help underpin prices and an increase in activity levels across the market as the year progresses,’ the report says.

However, the average prime country house price is still 14% below its 2007 peak. In contrast, prime prices in London are, on average, 34% higher than their previous peak values. ‘The rise in London prices in the last few years means that buyers looking to swap the city for the country are able to get a lot more property for their money, with such buyers able to take advantage of the relative discount which currently exists,’ the report adds.

In Scotland the country house market has also been affected by tax changes with the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) being introduced in April 2015. The report shows that as a result prices fell by 0.7% between July and September, the first time that prime prices have fallen on a quarterly basis in over two years.

The report points out that the levy, which replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax, has resulted in a significant increase in purchase costs for buyers in the prime market and adds that negotiations between buyer and vendor have become more protracted and in some instances this has led to prices being adjusted downwards to account for the higher charge.

The quarterly fall means that annual price growth slowed to 0.6% over the year to September 2015, down from a recent high of 2.8%. However, despite the slowdown in price growth, activity increased. The number of Scottish country house sales completed by Knight Frank in the third quarter of 2015 rose markedly compared to the same period last year.

The reasons for this are twofold, the report says. Firstly, the third quarter of 2014 saw a degree of uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the independence referendum which dampened sales activity in this section of Scotland’s prime residential market. Secondly, while purchase costs have risen, Scottish country house prices remain 23% below their previous peak in 2007, and their relative ‘discount’ to other markets is appealing to buyers.

‘Some 64% of our buyers so far in 2015 have come from outside Scotland. While the majority of these have relocated from the rest of the UK, it includes purchasers from Hong Kong, the US and the United Arab Emirates, which only serves to underline Scotland’s global appeal,’ said Ran Morgan, head of Scotland residential sales at Knight Frank.

‘The opening of the new Borders Railway should act as a boost to prime markets in the south, with stations on its route now within an hour’s commute of Edinburgh,’ he added.

The new rail line, which runs from Tweedbank to Edinburgh, brings a large area of the countryside in Midlothian and in the borders within easy reach of the capital by train for the first time. Transport Scotland has estimated that the railway could contribute £33 million to the Scottish economy.

For all sales enquiries, please contact Shaun Ascough of VIP International Homes on (+44) 0203 598 6409 or email enquiries@VIPInternationalHomes.com

Press release ends.

ABOUT VIP INTERNATIONAL HOMES – Prime Property Specialists in the UK, USA, Middle East and Africa.

VIP International Homes are prime property real estate agents who focus exclusively on selling and marketing the very finest property throughout the UK, USA, Middle East and Africa.

Since launching in 2002, we have established a reputation for applying the highest standards of quality, integrity and uncompromising professionalism in everything we do on behalf of international, executive and private clients who demand the world class services we offer.

For a no obligation initial telephone consultation, please contact us today.

UK OFFICE TEL:

+ 44 1425 462 549

(from outside of the UK +44 1425 462 549)

CAPE TOWN OFFICE TELEPHONE:

+ 27 21 300 8429

WEBSITE:

www.VIPInternationalHomes.com

Incorporating leading prime property buying agents, Sands Home Search, who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

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High rise flats by Donatella at Aykon Nine Elms: First homes designed by Versace in the UK

AYKON, NINE ELMS, STARTING PRICES FROM £700,000 to over £11million.

Battersea Power Station has long cast an imposing shadow on London’s landscape. As one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, in one of its most desirable areas, the regeneration of Battersea has sent developers into a frenzy. Now from the runways of Milan to the walkways of the Thames, one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands is about to be let loose on South West London. With the new Nine Elms regeneration picking up pace, Middle Eastern developer DAMAC has teamed up with Versace to design a 50-storey skyscraper.

With 360 homes, Aykon Nine Elms, will be the first private residences in the country with interior design by Versace Home. The haute couture brand added lifestyle products and furniture in 1997, but it has chosen this collection – a mix of penthouses, studios and one, two and three bedroom properties – to showcase its interior design to the British market.

As one of the world’s premier fashion brands, Versace’s move into interior design means you can now live its particular brand of opulence. As Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of Versace, says, “Versace is synonymous with fashion and luxury and its participation in the real estate business provides the opportunity to fully experience the Versace lifestyle.”

The collaboration will see Versace’s artistic director, Donatella Versace, working closely with a team of leading interior designers and architects to create furnishings that combine Versace’s formidable heritage with a fresh contemporary style. The Italian fashion house will not only design the interiors of each property but also the on-site indoor swimming pool and spa, roof garden, cinema and children’s play area.

Reflecting its fashionable partner and sought-after location, prices for the properties will start at £700,000.

Aykon Nine Elms is also attracting overseas investors as it will soon be in easy reach of central London – the extension of the Northern line is set to see a new Nine Elms tube station open a year before the new homes are finished.

According to leading estate agents, the house price growth figures could be as large as 6 per cent per annum and they anticipate that house price inflation could be up to 25% by the time it’s completed in 2020 for buyers who choose to invest now.

For all sales enquiries, please contact Shaun Ascough of VIP International Homes on (+44) 0203 598 6409 or email enquiries@VIPInternationalHomes.com

Press release ends.

ABOUT VIP INTERNATIONAL HOMES – Prime Property Specialists in the UK, Africa and Internationally.

VIP International Homes are prime property real estate agents who focus exclusively on selling and marketing the very finest property throughout the UK, Africa and Internationally.

Since launching in 2002, we have established a reputation for applying the highest standards of quality, integrity and uncompromising professionalism in everything we do on behalf of international, executive and private clients who demand the world class services we offer.

For a no obligation initial telephone consultation, please contact us today.

UK OFFICE TEL:

+ 44 1425 462 549

(from outside of the UK +44 1425 462 549)

CAPE TOWN OFFICE TELEPHONE:

+ 27 21 300 8429

WEBSITE:

www.VIPInternationalHomes.com

Incorporating leading prime property buying agents, Sands Home Search, who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

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www.SandsHomeSearch.com

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UK has world’s second-highest house prices beaten only by millionaire’s playground Monaco.

Researchers blame vested interests and the planning system for Britain’s ‘housing affordability crisis’, adding that our newly built homes are 40 per cent smaller than in comparable European countries.

House prices in Britain are the second highest in the world – behind only the millionaire’s playground of Monaco, a study reveals.

And newly built properties in Britain are about 40 per cent smaller than in similarly densely populated European countries.

The research shows that over the last 40 years house price growth in the UK has been faster than in any other major industrialised country, and has far outstripped earnings – causing a ‘housing affordability crisis’.

The home ownership rate has been in decline since the turn of the millennium, falling from 69.6 per cent in 2002 to 63.6 percent in 2013.

Extending the ‘right to buy’ policy from council tenants to those in housing association homes may halt this – but it would be likely to worsen the affordability crisis, adds the report.

Dr Christian Hilber, of the London School of Economics, said the cost of housing is a key concern of an ever increasing number of voters crammed into artificially limited space.

At the same time a lot of wealth lies in housing assets and there are many vested interests in keeping things this way – such as current home owners and private landlords.

However, politicians of all parties back away from major reforms out of fear of being demonised by the vested interests – relying on proposing policies to tackle the symptoms rather than the causes.

The report from the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) is one of a series of background briefings on key policy issues in next month’s general election.

It found that in 2014, UK house prices per square metre were the second highest in the world – topped only by Monaco and almost twice those in the US – with particularly high valuations in London and the South East where prices have soared away from the rest of the country since the 1970s.

Property prices in Greater London last year were 8.5 times more than earnings – compared to five times more for the UK as a whole.

Dr Hilber said the planning system is the main cause of the affordability crisis – especially in London and the South East. Despite population growth and rising real incomes building of new housing has been decreasing steadily since the 1970s leading to a substantial housing shortfall.

This means the main effect of policies that stimulate housing demand – such as Help-to-Buy – is to increase house prices rather than supply – meaning they are a waste of taxpayer money at best and harmful at worst.

A similar argument applies to property-related tax reforms. In supply-constrained areas higher taxes are capitalised into lower property prices.

The failure to revalue the council tax since 1992 and introduce effective property taxes has made the idea of a ‘mansion tax’ popular – and could reduce the prices of expensive houses, making them more affordable for wealthy would-be buyers.

The evidence also suggests that stamp duty land tax reduces household mobility. The resulting mismatch in the housing market worsens the affordability crisis.

The ‘bedroom tax’ is most likely to affect landlords who reduce rents to keep their tenants. This limits the potential to free up used space. It also has the potential to force tenants to relocate if there are shortages of smaller properties in some areas.

A local annual property tax with automatic annual revaluation could provide incentives to build new homes by generating local tax revenue that is tied to local development. This could help to reduce the chronic housing shortfall.

Dr Hilber said: “Research points clearly to the UK’s rigid planning system as the main cause of the housing affordability crisis.

“Demand-side policies such as Help-to-Buy don’t work in this setting because they merely increase house prices.

“The current property-related taxes are inefficient, especially the council tax and the stamp duty land tax.

"While the former is regressive and does not provide sufficient incentives to permit development at the local level, the latter hampers household mobility and generates distortions in the housing markets.

"Importantly it discourages downsizing of the elderly and upsizing of expanding young families.

“Solutions to the housing affordability crisis lie in a set of more supply-side friendly policies.

"But the obstacles to moving to such policies are vast since these policies antagonise vested interests, which appear to have been created in perpetuity.

“Yet the long-run consequences of political inaction – and the continuation of excessively low rates of new building – could prove socially explosive and economically traumatic.”

Press release ends.

ABOUT VIP INTERNATIONAL HOMES – Prime Property Specialists in the UK, Africa and Internationally.

VIP International Homes are prime property real estate agents who focus exclusively on selling and marketing the very finest property throughout the UK, Africa and Internationally.

Since launching in 2002, we have established a reputation for applying the highest standards of quality, integrity and uncompromising professionalism in everything we do on behalf of international, executive and private clients who demand the world class services we offer.

For a no obligation initial telephone consultation, please contact us today.

WEBSITE:

www.VIPInternationalHomes.com

EMAIL:

enquiries

UK OFFICE TEL:

+ 44 1425 462 549

(from outside of the UK +44 1425 462 549)

CAPE TOWN OFFICE TELEPHONE:

+ 27 21 300 8429

CORPORATE VIDEO:

www.SandsHomeSearch.com

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2015 new Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-Resident UK Property Owners

From 6th April 2015 we see the introduction of new Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-Resident UK Property Owners.

Although it has been public knowledge for a while, in just over two weeks’ time the Government is introducing new rules whereby non-resident property owners will have to pay Capital Gains Tax when they sell their property in the UK. All Capital Gains will be payable from 6th April 2015 onwards on gains arising after the rebasing date of 5th April 2015.

The Government advises non-resident property owners to record the condition and value of their property as at 5th April 2015. Therefore it would be prudent to commission a professional valuation to make a formal and reasoned record of the value on this date. Going forward, it will carry greater weight in ten or twenty years’ time if it is contemporaneous.

The Government’s guidance states that the rate of Capital Gains Tax for non-resident property owners will be the same as for nationals: 18% or 28% for individuals, 28% for trusts, and the annual exempt amount will be the same. The tax rate for individuals depends on the amount of taxable UK income the person has.

It has been quite common for non-resident property owners to own their properties in special vehicles but there is now a growing trend to transfer these properties into a UK resident’s name. Provided there is no debt on a property, the transfer, if it is a gift, will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

When property is sold in the UK the vendor has to report the disposal on a NRCGT return and pay any Capital Gains Tax due within 30 days of the day after the date the property sale is completed, or if they are already enrolled in the UK’s Self-Assessment they pay this as part of the normal end of year tax payment.

As tax is a legal charge and this is a very complex area, it is essential that advice is taken from a qualified solicitor as well.

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients. Sands Home Search are now part of VIP International Homes, estate agents in the New Forest, Sandbanks, Hampshire, Dorset and in Cape Town, South Africa.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

WEBSITE: www.VIPInternationalHomes.com

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TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

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Property market 2015 preview – What effect will the General Election and recent Stamp Duty changes have?

If you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it in 2015. That’s the message circulating at the top end of the prime property market on the run-up to one of the longest, and strangest, pre-election campaigns in history, the outcome of which will affect the workings of the country-house market for years to come. As Government and Opposition continue to target the estimated 2% of the population who buy and sell houses for more than £1 million, to the benefit of the 98% who don’t, the continuing uncertainty in the market-place has already dented sales of properties valued at more than the proposed ‘mansion tax’ threshold of £2m.

Even more so those valued at £5m- plus, says Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank, who, in 2014, saw a ‘significant’ increase in the number of off-market sales at this level, as vendors and buyers sought to maintain a low profile. ‘Almost a third of Knight Frank’s deals in the country have been by this method, reflecting vendors’ desires to sell quietly and buyers not wanting to be seen to be buying expensive property,’ he reveals.

When Chancellor George Osborne announced his surprise overhaul of Stamp Duty (SDLT) in his Autumn Statement on December 3, his supporters felt that he had done much to kick Labour’s dreaded ‘mansion tax’ proposals into the long grass. However, this notion was instantly rebutted by Ed Balls, confirming his intention to proceed with his plans for such a tax should Labour return to power at the General Election.

As buyers, vendors and estate agents around the country digest the implications of the new SDLT regime, Lucian Cook of Savills comments: ‘The new graduated system of SDLT bands will mean savings for about three-quarters of a million home buyers across England and Wales, who will benefit from reduced SDLT on transactions up to £937,000. By contrast, about 17,000 transactions above £937,000 will carry an increased SDLT burden.’

He explains: ‘For example, the new SDLT rate payable on the purchase of a £2m house is now £153,750, compared with £100,000 at the old rate, an increase of £53,750; that payable on a £3m house is now £273,750 as against £210,000 (+£63,750); that payable on a £5m house is now £513,750, as against £350,000 (+£163,750); and that payable on a £10m house is now £1,113,750, as against £700,000 —an eye-watering increase of £413,750.’

Argues Mr Cook: ‘Although reforms at the lower end of the SDLT rate bands are well overdue, and will benefit those trying to get on or trade up the housing ladder, particularly if they live in London or the South-East, we estimate that about £2.2 billion of SDLT receipts—more than one-third of total SDLT revenues—will come from fewer than 5,000 sales of property worth more than £2m, less than 0.5% of all transactions. This surely puts an end to any argument that these properties are under-taxed and further significantly undermines any case for a “mansion tax”.’

With the attention of the residential property sector focused firmly on the outcome of the General Election, leading agents expect 2015 to be a year in two or even three parts, with a window of opportunity in the first three months of the year, followed by a pre-election lull and a post-election period of reflection, and little serious activity taking place at the top end of the market before September.

Even in the Cotswolds, which was Knight Frank’s star performing area in 2014, Atty Beor-Roberts in Cirencester isn’t expecting to see many high-profile launches in the first half of the year. Although no one quite knows what will happen after May, he wouldn’t be surprised to see owners of high-value houses in London preferring to stick with a smaller house in town and buying a second home in the Cotswolds with the money they would save in SDLT by not going for a bigger house in the capital.

But not everyone wants to sit on the sidelines while Westminster performs its ritual dance and Strutt and Parker believe that, this year, the early bird will catch the juiciest worms. Mark Rimell, whose remit covers much of the South-East, has claimed pole position with the relaunch on Boxing Day of Grade II-listed The Laines, at Plumpton, East Sussex, at a slightly revised guide price of £3.15m.

Nestled in 5.3 acres of gardens and grounds on the edge of Plumpton village in the lee of the South Downs, The Laines has been the much-loved family home for the past 18 years of the actor James Wilby—best known for his roles in Maurice, Gosford Park and A Handful of Dust—his wife, Shana, and their four children. Prior to that, the former village rectory, built in the 18th century with 19th-century additions, of traditional Sussex knapped-flint walls under a hipped tiled roof, belonged, for 45 years, to Maj Bruce Shand and was his daughter The Duchess of Cornwall’s ‘perfect’ childhood home.

This delightfully quirky, rambling family house has four main reception rooms with classic Georgian proportions, high ceilings, fine working fireplaces and French windows opening onto the east and south terraces plus seven main bedrooms, three bathrooms and a shower room on the first floor. All the main rooms have wonderful views of the lovely gardens, partially designed by Lanning Roper and lovingly maintained by Mr Wilby. It comes with a three/four-bedroom cottage, which has been let to provide a useful income.

Simon Backhouse of Strutt & Parker in Canterbury is taking the bull by the horns in next week’s Country Life of the 350-acre Linton estate at Linton, four miles from Maidstone, Kent, at a guide price of £7.3m for the whole or in up to 15 lots. For sale for the first time in more than 50 years, following the Daubeny family’s decision to relocate overseas, the estate, which dates from the mid 18th century, was divided in the late 1970s, when the mansion house and northern parkland were sold off.

The estate, which is classified as residential and therefore subject to the new SDLT regime, has a large portfolio of houses, including the main estate house—the four-bedroom Cuckoo Field House – a Victorian model farm-building complex with potential for redevelopment, six cottages, further outbuildings with development potential, a range of modern farm buildings, a cricket ground and 140 acres of Grade II*-listed parkland.

Source: Country Life

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients. Sands Home Search are now part of VIP International Homes, estate agents in the New Forest, Sandbanks, Hampshire, Dorset and in Cape Town, South Africa.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

WEBSITE: www.VIPInternationalHomes.com

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TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

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New UK stamp duty rates subdue sentiment in high value home markets

Prime London house prices rose by an average of 2.6% in 2014, but for the first time since the credit crunch the UK’s prime regional markets marginally outperformed the capital with growth averaging 3.2%.

According to the latest analysis from Savills, 2014 was a year of two halves for the prime London residential market. Prices rose by 4.9% on average in the first half of the year and fell by a net figure of 2.2% in the second half, its prime London index shows.

The firm says that the increased rates of stamp duty introduced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement resulted in an adjustment in values at the top end of the market, most notably in prime London and parts of its high value extended commuter belt. As a result, the average all prime London index where values average £2.6 million recorded a 2.6% fall in the final quarter of 2014.

However, London’s prime markets up to £1 million and in the £1 million to £2 million range were less adversely affected by the stamp duty changes and would also be less affected by opposition proposals for a mansion tax. As a result, they saw annual price growth of 6% and 2.5% respectively.

The greatest impact of the stamp duty increase was seen in the most valuable markets of prime central London, which have seen the strongest price growth in recent years. In these central markets, where prices average £4 million, values fell by 4.2% in the last quarter of the year, contributing to small falls of 1.3% year on year.

‘It will take time for the effect of the stamp duty changes on prices to become clear, early signs are that the additional cost is predominantly being borne by sellers through price adjustments at a level similar to the extra stamp duty,’ said Lucian Cook, Savills UK head of residential research.

‘Prices were easing before the Autumn Statement, so for the very top end of the market the stamp duty rise coincided with some of the froth coming off pricing earlier in the quarter. Our analysis suggests that even without the stamp duty changes, values were on track to soften by around 1% in this last quarter, in part due to general pre-election uncertainty around high value property taxation,’ he explained.

Early indications are that the prime markets outside London have been less impacted by the new stamp duty rates and would also be less affected by further taxation in the form of a mansion tax.

In the sub £1 million prime market across the UK, average prices rose by 4.6% in 2014, fuelled by particularly strong growth in the first six months of the year. These lower value prime markets, particularly those that are well-connected to London, are forecast to see the strongest growth over the next year and into the midterm, Savills says.

Higher value homes in the £2 million plus range recorded marginal 0.8% falls over 2014, as values fell by 3.1% in the last three months of the year.

Occupier demand, particularly in London, continues to be strong, though prime market rents have been slower to respond to economic recovery than capital values. In London, the two strongest performing markets have been prime central London, where rents rose by an average of 3.5% in 2014, and the markets of Canary Wharf and Wapping which rose by 5% in the year.

Average prime London rents ended the year up 1.8%, meaning that the market has finally nudged back above its peak preceding the Lehman Brothers collapse. Prime commuter zone rents rose by 2.7% in 2014.

Assuming no further tax increases in this election year, average prices across prime London are expected to stabilise with a fall of 0.5% in 2015 but grow by 22.7% in the next five years.

‘That means sellers of prime housing need to maintain a realistic view on values achievable in the election year, if they are committed to achieving a sale. Our evidence suggests that there is a market for appropriately priced stock,’ added Cook.

Strong occupier demand in London’s strengthening economy and the continued expansion of new technology sectors will underpin the prime rental markets and the Savills five year rental forecast anticipates growth of 17.1% and 15.9% for prime London and the prime commuter zone respectively.

Source: Property Wire

Press release ends.

ABOUT NEW FOREST, SANDBANKS, UK COUNTRY HOUSES AND ESTATES PROPERTY SEARCH AGENTS AND PROPERTY BUYING ADVISORS, SANDS HOME SEARCH

Sands Home Search are independent Property Search & Relocation Agents who specialise in finding and acquiring the finest property for sale in The New Forest, Sandbanks, the UK Country House market and in Cape Town South Africa for private, corporate and international property buying clients.

TEL: 01425 462 549

(from outside of the UK 0044 1425 462 549)

WEBSITE: www.SandsHomeSearch.com

CORPORATE VIDEO: www.YouTube.com/User/PropertySearchAgents

Follow us on Facebook: www.FaceBook/pages/UK-Property-Search-Agents-Sands-Home-Search

TAGS: New Forest, Sandbanks, England, Property, Sale, Buy, Selling, Buying, Search, Homes, Houses, Country Homes, Property Search Agent, Relocation Agent, Property Buying Agent, Property Buying Advisor, Relocation Company, Property, Real Estate, Country Houses, Country Homes, Country Estates, Period Property, Equestrian Property, Farms, Waterside Homes, Town, City, Village, For Sale, Period Property, Rectories, City, Buying, Selling, Renting, Homes, Houses, Estate Agents, Property Search, House for sale, Property Prices, Property Market, Property Agents

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UK Mansion Tax Status as at October 2014

There has been much talk about the so-called “Mansion Tax” but a distinct lack of clarity with regard to detail. This paper sets out what is known and what the implications would be if it were to be implemented.

The origins of the so-called “Mansion Tax” go back to the Liberal Democrats’ Party Conference in 2009 when Vince Cable proposed a 0.5% annual occupancy tax on homes with a value in excess of £1m. In November 2009, this proposal was revised upwards to a 1% tax on homes worth more than £2m, an idea taken up by Labour’s David Milliband the following year. The LibDems have continued to press, unsuccessfully, for a Mansion Tax since coming to power as part of the coalition government.

Labour has promised to introduce a Mansion Tax if they win the General Election in order to raise an expected £1.2bn to help fund the National Health Service. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats appear to have dropped the idea of a Mansion Tax in favour of additional Council Tax bands at the top end.

The Conservatives remain strongly opposed to any form of Mansion Tax. A number of economic thinktanks are also against the idea. Both the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Adam Smith Institute have suggested a revised Council Tax system would be more efficient and fairer.

Labour’s current proposals are so far very light on detail.

What has been reported thus far is as follows:

– Homes valued at £2m+ would be liable for the Mansion Tax. The rate has yet to be specified and it is not clear whether it would apply just on the value above £2m or on the total value

of the property.

– The £2m threshold would rise in line with average property prices to prevent more properties being drawn within the scope of the tax. Exactly how this would work in practice has not

been revealed.

– It will be a progressive tax with possible bands mirroring those applied to ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings), i.e. ranging from £2m+ to £5m, £5m+ to £10m, £10m+ to £20m and £20m+. Again, there is no indication yet of what the rates would be for each band, although Ed Balls recently stated that those owning properties worth £2m-£3m would only pay an extra £250 a month through this new tax. This suggests that those owning properties valued at over £3m will pay substantially more in order to raise the targeted £1.2bn tax revenue.

– Labour will also look at asking overseas owners of second homes in the UK to make a larger contribution than people living in their only home – again, no further detail on this.

– As with the Government’s new tax on properties bought through companies, owners will be able to submit a self-valuation to HMRC.

– A relief scheme – or allowing those on modest incomes (defined as falling below the prevailing higher or top rate income tax brackets) to defer payment until the property is sold – has been suggested to protect “asset rich, cash poor” households. The relief clause has been reported as allowing owners of £2m+ homes on low incomes to roll up their liabilities until they are clawed back from their estates when they die. However, there is no information on the detail behind either idea.

Details of the Liberal Democrats proposals for additional Council Tax bands at the top end (i.e. above the current top rate Band H) have not been published.

There are a number of issues connected to both Labour’s and the LibDems’ proposals, which can be summarised as follows:

– Fairness: the tax would not impact equally upon all owners of £2m+ homes: households which are not otherwise wealthy but who have seen the value of their homes rise over time may struggle to cope and possibly be forced to sell.

– Tax rates: no rates have yet been specified and it is not clear whether the tax would apply just on the value above £2m or on the total value of the property. There is clearly a big difference between the two calculations.

– Location differential: a “one size fits all” approach for every location seems inappropriate.

The average house price in London, for example, is much higher than the rest of the country. The same issue applies to the raising of the threshold in line with average price rises.

– Cost of implementation: in order to assess fairly who will pay the tax, a value will need to be attached to each property, especially around the thresholds which are likely to prove contentious. Home owners submitting self-valuations might find that HMRC disagrees with their assessment and may end up having to pay for a professional valuation.

– Tax revenue: no-one knows for sure exactly how many £2m+ properties there are nor what the banded tax rates will be – thus how can we know how much tax will be raised?

– Tax creep risk: there is a risk that the threshold of the Mansion Tax might be lowered as has already happened with the lowering of the threshold for ATED and the ATED related CGT (Capital Gains Tax) charge.

– Impact on property values: buyer appetite will likely evaporate for properties within a range above the threshold – perhaps up to £2.2m or £2.3m – which will see owners needing to come below £2m if they wish to sell. On the other hand, given the £3,000 per annum cap for properties between £2m+ and £3m, its impact on homes within this band may be limited.

What are the potential implications?

There is currently too much uncertainty surrounding the Mansion Tax to be able to make an informed judgement about how to react to it. Firstly, we do not have sufficient detail about the tax rates which will be applied, nor how it will work in practice. Secondly, it is not possible at this point in time to predict who will win the General Election. Prudence suggests a watch-and-wait approach whilst at the same time preparing a selling strategy should Labour or the Liberal Democrats come to power next May.

What should you do now?

There is currently too much uncertainty surrounding the Mansion Tax to be able to make an informed judgement about how to react to it. Firstly, we do not have sufficient detail about the tax rates which will be applied, nor how it will work in practice. Secondly, it is not possible at this point in time to predict who will win the General Election. Prudence suggests a watch-and-wait approach whilst at the same time preparing a swift selling strategy should Labour or the Liberal Democrats come to power next May!

SOURCE: CHESTERTONS

Press release ends.

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