How the Budget 2016 affects property investors

With the Stamp Duty surcharge coming into effect today, we look back at the key points from the Budget 2016 affecting the UK property market.

  • The planned stamp duty surcharge on purchases of additional property, to include those who buy more than 15 properties. Previously if you owned more than 15 properties you were exempt from the surcharge.
  • An 3% surcharge will be applied to residential stamp duty rates on all purchases of property not intended as the buyer’s main residence, from today, 1st April 2016.
    stampduty
  • The threshold at which people pay 40% tax will rise from £42,385 to £45,000 in April 2017 and personal allowance up to £11,500.
  • 0.5% rise in insurance premium tax.
  • Commercial stamp duty
    0% rate on purchases up to £150,000,
    2% on next £100,000 and
    5% top rate above £250,000.
    New 2% rate for high-value leases with net present value above £5m

Other issues to consider from previous budgets

  • Withdrawal of interest relief

Under current rules, taxable profits are reduced by interest on money borrowed for the purposes of the letting business.  Phased in over a four year period starting with the 2017/18 tax year, UK taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct interest in calculating taxable rental profits.  Instead, landlords will obtain a reduction in tax equal to basic rate tax on any interest borrowed.

The changes will be introduced gradually, so that the amount of interest which is deducted from rental profits is 75% from 6 April 2017, 50% from 6 April 2018, 25% from 6 April 2019 and 100% from 2020/21.

On the same dates, a reduction in tax will be given for the interest which has been disallowed.  The tax reducer is the basic rate tax (currently 20%) multiplied by the disallowed interest.  In practice the tax reducer will be 20% of 25% of interest for 2017/18, 20% of 50% of interest for 2018/19, 20% of 75% of interest for 2019/20 and 20% of the whole interest from 2020/21.

By 2020/21, a landlord who is a higher rate taxpayer will effectively only receive basic rate tax relief on mortgage interest payments.

Conclusion

Overall the positives for the Budget 2016 are a few; higher income tax thresholds and allowances and lower corporation tax.

The negatives are greater with the surcharges on Stamp Duty, higher insurance, and removal of interest relief.

The impact of new investors is much higher with the increases upfront Stamp Duty expense, and for those who are heavily mortgaged on their buy to let investments.

However it will take some time to effect rents and house prices, these may balance some of the additional costs for buy to let and property investors.

With interest rates still so low, property investment still out weighs leaving your money in the bank.

 

Sources:

LRS Forum

Coman & Co

Stamp Duty rise won’t kill property investment

On the 1st of April 2016, the “Landlord Tax” or stamp duty surcharge comes into affect of a 3% surcharge for anyone buying a second home or an investment or buy to let property.

However what will be the impact for the property investor? Will it reduce prices or first time buyers? Will the extra cost be passed on to renters? Will the UK property market crash?

Today the ONS released statistics that property prices are rising 6.7% year on year in 2015, and that is 9.4% in the UK. So in effect and extra 3% is the same as if you delay the purchase of your property in London by 4 months, or alternatively you will cover the cost by the increase in prices within 4 months.

Stamp duty increaseWell this is not exactly the case as usually a buy to let investor puts in about 25% deposit, and stamp duty is not covered by the mortgage value, so really the buyer needs that much extra cash available.

In this case an investor may try to pass on the additional cost to the renter. This will be a completely possible strategy and the property market will allow it. However will this make up the difference. For example a residential property yielding 6%, there for a 3% stamp duty surcharge would mean 6 months rent. If the Landlord increases rents by say 10% then it will take 5 years to recover the surcharge.

But, and its a big but, with the FTSE being volatile and the interest rates not likely to rise anywhere near enough to compete with property, an investors best place to invest is still property.

In conclusion the stamp duty surcharge will not really put investors off, it will just increase rents and increase the tax revenue.  

Stamp duty

Do you want to avoid the stamp duty surcharge?

Look into other options for property investment. Contact us we have a number of opportunities where you can invest in property development deals, with profit shares or fixed incomes. Contact info@propvestment.com

 

Sources:

BBC Article

 

Office to residential conversionx

Office to Residential Conversion made permanent

The Prime Minister announced today that the Permitted Development Rights that enabled office to residential conversion without full planning permission is set to be made permanent. The scheme with initially ran from 2013 to May 2016 will be extended indefinitely.

In other boosts for house building today, the PM is also announcing that a temporary rule introduced in May 2013 allowing people to convert disused offices into homes without applying for planning permission will be made a permanent change – after almost 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 to June this year.

This is great news for potential buyers of homes as well as property developers and all professionals connected to the industry. It will mean an flood of new development sites to the market and an increase in available housing stock. This should start to be realised within 12 to 18 months, the usual length of time required to convert a building.

Office blocks are usually in inner city location or near transport links making them ideal locations for residential units. Perfect for young buyers who rely on these links. Furthermore converted building are typically cheaper than new builds and many often come with a character that new builds just do not.

We at PropVestment are actively looking for office sites to convert into residential units, please email nirav@propvestment.com.

Office to residential conversionx

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty changes: #AS2014

#SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) has been totally reformed in the Autumn Statement by George Osbourne. First time buyers gain, and buyers of property over £937,500 lose out.

98% of people who will be paying Stamp Duty will pay less

Under the new rules Stamp Duty will follow a scale similar to income tax, with thresholds where the rate is due proportionally.

New Stamp Duty

What is the impact on First Time Buyers or regular home owners?

First time buyers will benefit. Under the new rules first time buyers will pay on average £400 less. The average price paid for a first home is £210,000. Under the old system the rate was 1% on the whole amount therefore £2,100. However under the new system only amount above £125,00 so ££85,000 is taxed at 2% totaling £1,700.

What is the impact on Property Developers?

For property developers the new is not so good. With so many sites coming in over the £1m mark, property developers will be hit hard. In Particular those in London and the South East where even the smallest sites come in over the £937,500 threshold from which point the effective rate is higher under the new system.

SDLT Autumn Statement

The critics are calling this move George Osbourne’s own engineering of the Mansion Tax. However this will definitely help smaller, less affluent families and most of all first time buyers. The upper end rates are really quite high and will impact small developers more, who operate on a smaller scale and rarely get other subsidies like the larger ones.

It must be noted that these rates and changes do not affect commercial property, therefore many developments may not be harmed that much.

Will this reduce or increase the net proceeds to the treasury?

In conclusion, this is a positive move by the Chancellor, it just waits to be seen how this translates for first time buyers and conversely with property developers in reality.

London Property

Is the London property market slowing?

Property Investor LondonWednesday 3rd December was the last McHugh & Co auction of 2014. Focusing on residential property in London this auction gives a good indication of the state of the London property market.

PropVestment attended the auction on the instruction of client’s interested in some of the lots on offer. Here is how it went:

Key observations:

  • Only 50% of the lots sold
  • Development lots sold the best, 5 of the 8 sold, at an average of £1.865m which was on average 55% above the guide price.
  • Houses did not sell well, only 3 of 9 selling, at an average of £499k, on average 17% above guide price. For the ones that did not sell, reserves were not met at an average of 3% above guide price.
  • Flats sold fairly well, 6 out of 10, at an average of 34% over guide price.
  • Lots in Zone 1 & 2 sold well and above guide, however many outside central areas did not sell.
  • Lots sold by councils, or trusts sold well, where as private sellers seemed to keep high reserves.

London property analysis

Developers were hungry for prime development lots in good locations, where there is confidence that final products will sell and where there is potential to achieve higher values. However locations away from prime residence or commercial zones did not fair so well. Some lots were offered by London Borough of Camden, the ones on normal residential streets sold well, but ones in proximity to estates and tower blocks did not. Council are cashing in.

Flats sold well, these are properties that are more affordable and hence there is greater demand.

Luxury houses suffered, where sellers are anticipating very high prices. The irony is that with the Stamp Duty announcement in the Autumn Statment these properties will be less desirable and therefore sellers will not achieve the prices they want.

Another factor that may contribute to slower sales is the up coming holiday season, with many auction lots requiring 4 week completions it is not desirable or possible to complete. Auction purchases require greater legal scrutiny and finance is still difficult.

For advise, appraisals or general consultancy on London property feel free to get in touch: info@PropVestment.com

London Property

 Note: PropVestment only attended the first 30 lots on offer, data is from first hand observation, although we aim to provide accurate information this information is not verified with McHugh and Co.
budget buying a property

Hidden costs of buying a property

Cost of buying a property go well beyond the deposit required

Many new buyers often make the miscalculation that the money they have saved up, is the amount they should budget for buying a property or putting down a deposit. There are many other costs that arise that new buyers should be aware of. Here are just a few examples.

Legal costs of buying a property

Legals fees are a must, remember you get what you pay for. Use a reputed conveyancing firm. Depending on the complexity of your deal typical costs could vary from £500 to £1000. In some cases you can get the lender to contribute to some of these costs, however beware that they do not cover this by charging else where.

Stamp Duty costs of buying a property

Considering very few property purchases are below the £125,000 threshold most people will have to pay stamp duty. This is a tax an is payable on completion, therefore must be budgeted into your calculations.

Purchase price of property Rate of SDLT
(percentage of the total purchase price)
£0 – £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 1%
£250,001 – £500,000 3%
£500,001 – £1 million 4%
Over £1 million – £2 million 5%
Over £2 million 7%

Source: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Check out this easy stamp duty calculator.

Survey costs of buying a property

Surveys can typically cost £400 to £800. This must be paid regardless if the purchase goes through, so do your own research before instructing a survey. Make sure the value stands up and the purchase is not too risky for the lender. Sometimes the lender covers the cost of the survey or adds it to the mortgage.

Valuation fees when buying a property

Mortgage lenders will charge a valuation fee, that can vary from £300 to £500. They sometimes cover the cost or give you the option to add it to the mortgage amount. Look at the fine print and get clarification.

Mortgage arrangement fees

Lenders have become smart and crafty. Often as the interest offered on a mortgage goes down, the arrangement fees go up. In reality this is a pointless fee but they do charge it. It can be over £1000 in some cases.

Moving costs & repairs

Moving costs if you are hiring help can run into over £1000 for a single day. Calculate how much you have to move and plan the move well.

When you view your property before completion check things thoroughly, the last thing you want is a boiler failing, the roof collapsing as soon as you move in.

How can PropVestment help?

budget buying a propertyWe can provide you with a walk through of purchasing a property and put you in touch with our preferred and vetted financial advisers, solicitors, and moving team. Contact us today for a no obligation chat.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The rise of online estate agents

How important is the Estate Agent?

Is the role of the Estate Agent changing?

Over the last few years since the bursting of the property bubble in 2007 to now the role and business model of the estate agent has changed dramatically. We will discuss a few themes from the rise and reliance of the internet in property. Most prominently the rise and almost necessity of agents to list upon Rightmove and Zoopla. Are relationships with your agent still as important? The rise of volume of estate agents on every high street? Is it different if you are a buyer or a seller.

Internet-Only Agents, Rightmove & Zoopla

The rise of online estate agentsA few years ago there was a giant called Findaproperty.com, which has now disappeared after a merger with Zoopla in 2012. The giants are now Rightmove and Zoopla. Nearly every high street agent must now list on these two giants to get the exposure to potential buyers or letters.

In times gone by majority of the advertising for property was in the freely distributed local newspapers, and newspaper could get a large amount of their revenues from estate agents. Now many papers exist in only online form or only sold in selected stores. This has meant that all that revenue is diverted to these online property listing sites. Within minutes of receiving new properties agents are able to list them online and mailshot them to potentials. As a buyer this means you have quick access but also quick competition.

DID YOU KNOW: 95% property searches are done online!

There are now a rise of many online only estate agents such as such as eMoov.co.ukHousesimple.co.uk and Hatched.co.uk. Zoopla and Rightmove online allow estate agents to advertise, not private clients. Hence their is a market for online only agents. With minimal costs they can operate, some only charging £500 commission on property sales. Compared to the 2% average of traditional agents and London average house prices hitting almost £350,000. That’s a comparison of £500 vs £7000? What would you choose?

Are relationships with your estate agent important?

This question goes hand in hand with the debate of using online only estate agents or not. In years gone by your relationship with your local agents were of prime importance. Whether you were a seller or a buyer your agent could significantly improve your chances of succeeding in a transaction or even giving you first option ahead of others.

Recently working on a deal for a client we realised the importance of this relationship is still as valid as ever. You pay a price but you get that call ahead of a property being listed online. Or as a seller they personally take care of negotiations and vetting to squeeze every penny from the prospective buyer. It brings about a personal touch an art that is often lost in today’s technologically reliant world.

Spoilt for choice? But which one?

Spoilt for choice for estate agentsSince the before the bubble burst till now there have been more and more new estate agents cropping up on every high street in the country. Even when the market for buying and selling was stagnant they were opening. Mainly for the high demand for lettings and the quick 6-10% that they could make by flooding landlords with sub standard tenants and then in an few months they disappeared. Estate agency requires no qualifications to open, so there is easy entry. But do not discount them all the new boys on the market. There are some very good ones. Best advise is to go and have a conversation, you very easily can weed out the all talkers and the ones with extensive local knowledge.

The best agents we find are ones that have been in an area for a while, they get the best properties first and they also have the ready clients who are looking.

Difference for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers:
Walk around the area you are looking and register interest with the local estate agents. They will give you inside knowledge of the happenings and developments locally and can give you first option. You are not generally paying anything so it makes no difference to you.

For sellers:
You are the one paying fees so this is the big dilemma. Also it depends on your circumstances, how long you can wait to find a buyer, can you handle viewings. A good agent can vet out prospects so there is less hassle for you, especially if you are selling your residential home and do not want hoards of random people turning up to see.

Conclusion

Estate Agents are massively important for the buyer and seller, however each situation is different. On the whole good relationships enable you to get preferential and personal service that can help you beat the market.

#AutumnStatement : UK Property Market

Property Highlights

  • Capital Gains Tax loophole closed

From April 2015, overseas investors will face a capital gains tax bill on any profits they make from UK property. It is only fair to make overseas investors pay capital gains tax (28%) on the profit they make when they sell their UK properties. That is what British second homeowners are required to do, so why not foreign investors too.

  • £1bn made available for property development loans

£1 billion of loan money is to be made available to councils wanting to fund new housing developments in Manchester, Leeds and elsewhere (expected to create 250,000 homes). House building is up by 29% on last year. It is a figure warmly welcomed by construction firms such as Persimmon, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey, though many large financial firms such as L&G insist house building should be a much higher and more urgent priority.

For Help to Buy, Virgin and Aldermore will be offering mortgages too.

  • Aim to keep interest rates low

The aim of many tight regulations in banking and financial industries is to encourage responsible lending and so it is possible to maintain low interest rates. This is vital to the general economy and must be fought against rising house prices. So house prices will need to be kept under control.

 What does this mean for a property investor?

Autumn Statement UK Property Capital Gains TaxFirstly if you are a foreign investor then much of the benefit you got have been diminished. However if you are not, this is great news. It will mean that foreign investors may start to put there money else where. This means there will be less competition from “Cash Oversea’s buyers” when you are after a property. Prices should also correct accordingly. Overall a good policy for UK property buyers and also the increased tax revenue will help the public too.

Funding for house building and developments will increase housing supply and keep construction jobs strong. However will this only benefit the house builders who sell at inflated prices? Possibly. The impact on the normal UK property investor will be minimal.

Low interest rates are welcome for investors, however it depends if new finance is available. Overall it will at least mean that investors’ current mortgage payments stay low.

Overall a good Autumn Statement for the UK Property investor.

 

 

Buy to Let mortgages

UK Property Market Update – Winter 2013

The UK property bubble is building

  • The average family home is up £5,583 and London properties have increased by more than £7,000.UK property prices went up by £7,430 in October
  • Average sale price in London is now £404,199
  • Help to Buy scheme is inflating prices
  • Rents increase 11% to £785pm, 41% of the average UK wage.

UK rents

UK property Sale prices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average UK Property Prices In London, where the average sale price is higher than ever, 14 people compete for every property.

Mortgage applications rose by 6% in October, and almost double 2012 numbers. It comes as the Council of Mortgage Lenders said last week the number of homes sold this year will be more than one million for the first time since the financial crisis began in 2007.

The government Help to Buy scheme is pushing prices up.

Out of the 5,375 sold so far, the highest number of Help to Buy sales have been in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading.

The average price of a UK property bought under the Help to Buy scheme was £194,167, with an average equity loan of £38,703.

UK property transactions

Critics warned the UK-wide second phase of the scheme, which began last month and is not restricted to new-builds, would cause a housing bubble.

It guarantees 15 % of the value of the home loan.

After almost coming off the market, Buy to Let mortgages are also being approved strongly. Landlords and investors are buying up and completing deals to keep up with the increasing rent demand and to cash in on the rental increases. This is a very encouraging sign for property investment.

However as the final graphic shows there is still not enough supply in the market, especially in London where there are almost 3 offers for every sale.

PropVestment’s thoughts

Offers and Sales

Yes the UK property market is picking up and in fact picking up a little too fast. But this is mainly due to the Help to Buy scheme which is resulting in unrealistic implications on price and the market. The only ones to benefit are the banks and house builders. First time buyers, buying under the scheme face higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgage products.   
The market right now is too competitive and sellers can take advantage. We do however have concerns that many first time buyers under Help to Buy will suffer from negative equity in years to come once the Government pulls the plug on the scheme and prices fall back to their realistic, natural and sustainable level.

Buy to Let mortgages

Source: Daily Mail

UK Student Housing has better returns than residential & commercial

Student Housing: Is it a good investment?

This week Savills published their student housing report. Here are some key findings from that report and some of personal experience and observations from working with our clients.

“Student housing continues to perform well as an asset class with higher yields than both residential and commercial property” – Savills

In the past the student market has been steered clear by investors due to the reputation of how students treat your property. However in recent years and the massive influx of students, the shortage in student housing has created a market where the returns are far higher and secure than residential and commercial property.

According to HESA between 1999 and 2012 the number of full-time students in higher education grew by 540,000, an increase of 46%.

With university halls of residence just about able to cope with the increasing numbers of first year students and private sector student accommodation operators racing to scale up, most students ended up in the private rented sector.

Average student housing rents by rightmove

Many landlords ceased the opportunity, some to accommodate for their own children and their friends. The use and availability of Buy to Let mortgages made it even easier.

Where to invest in Student Housing?

According to Savills, Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and St Andrews are at the top of the list for investors.

Where to invest in student housing

 PropVestment’s clients have shown interests in south coast universities like Southampton and Portsmouth. In the past favourites have included Manchester and Nottingham and of course London, with investments south of the river.

 Demand for Student Housing & increase in Fees?

It was thought that student numbers would fall after the fees jumped to a maximum of £9,000 from 2012. But this only applied to domestic students.
In 2013 demand from within fell by 2.7%, However, demand from outside of Europe has continued to grow during this period, particularly from the Far East, which has seen average annual growth of 8.5% over the last 6 years.

The overall 0.4% fall in domestic student numbers between 2010-11 and 2011-12 was counterbalanced by a 1.7% increase in international students keeping student numbers
fairly stable.

Is London still the place to invest?

London Student Housing Market

London has 300,000 full-time students, and 110,000 part-time students. It is the student
accommodation market is both the largest and most active in the country.

With private sector rents forecast to continue growing, affordability for domestic students,
who make up 75% of the student body, will continue to be stretched and drive demand
into surrounding more affordable markets.

Therefore there is much opportunity in Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas of London. However in London there are many other factors that also effect the market.

PropVestment Top Tips

Invest and convert larger properties into HMOs to house multiple students. The returns are higher for the landlord, and the greater space can provide more affordable alternatives for students rather than renting a studio on Oxford Street.