The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement held little in the way of shocks when it came to the property market. The main development was one that we’ve talked about before and that’s the introduction of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on overseas property investors. Many pundits claim that the levy will do little to dampen the London market, currently seen as a safe place to put their money by foreign buyers keen to avoid the vagaries of the stock market. The tax brings the UK into line with European markets, as well as New York, which is another popular place for investors. The other key announcement was that of £1 billion of loan money to be made available to councils in order to fund new housing developments across the country. A boost to the construction market, it’s also seen as a response to general criticism about planning regulation and how it’s restricting the building of new homes and increasing demand, thus pushing up house prices.
We were disappointed that the Chancellor did not scrap Stamp Duty on house prices below £250,000 and that he left the thresholds untouched. Effectively a tax on movement, the levy stops the free movement of people as they’re more unwilling to sell to pay the tax.