Stamp duty/CGT news re residential properties:
Lucian Cook, Savills UK head of residential research:
“The failure to give relief from the additional stamp duty levy for large investors could inhibit the development of a much-needed institutional private rented sector. While purchases of 6 or more residential properties can be treated as a non residential transaction, the reform of stamp duty on commercial properties is likely to mean greater entry costs for large scale residential investors one way or another. Our recent analysis suggests there will be demand for another 1 million private rented households in the next 5 years despite policies to boost home ownership.
“Keeping the old rates of CGT on residential property will make it more difficult for existing buy to let investors (who face a cut in income tax relief on interest payments) to reorganise their portfolios towards better performing property. It will also act as a longer term disincentive to invest in residential property compared to other asset classes which may put further pressure on the supply of private rented homes against the backdrop of rising demand. That may well put upward pressure on rents.
“The comment* that stamp duty take on most expensive property has increased means the rates are here to stay which entrenches some of the issues facing the prime housing markets and means in all likelihood it will remain price sensitive over the next 12-24 months.”
* “Just over a year ago, I reformed residential stamp duty. We moved from a distortive slab system to a much simpler slice system. And as a result 98% of homebuyers are paying the same or less, and revenues from the expensive properties have risen.”
Infrastructure and housing delivery:
Susan Emmett, Savills residential research director says:
“Infrastructure improvements and new stations openings can trigger development and regeneration, increasing demand for an area and consequently and boosting property values. Development activity can therefore contribute to the cost of infrastructure but only if we adopt a coordinated approach to development and infrastructure planning from an early stage.
“Crossrail 2 can help deliver 200k homes by acting as a catalyst for development and regeneration, but only if communities accept higher densities. Intensifying land use might not be an issue in post industrial areas that are being regenerated but could face local opposition in semi-rural locations adjacent to the Green Belt.
“Savills research shows there is tremendous potential to increase density in London. We calculate that theoretically there is the potential to deliver 1.46 million new homes in London by building at higher densities. Furthermore, our analysis highlights that the greatest opportunities are in the outer boroughs.
“The big question will be whether the affected communities are ready to embrace this brave new world.
“They must be reassured that delivering higher densities does not require turning Shepperton into Singapore. Done well, higher density can bring benefits by enabling better shops and services that support vibrant communities. A design-led approach where the focus is on creating attractive places along traditional street patterns must surely be the way to go.
“We would need to change planning policy and attitudes to density to fulfil this target. Design-led approach is therefore crucial.”
Garden villages and towns:
“If garden villages and towns are to make a difference to the housing crisis, they need to be created in addition to plans for urban extensions and homes already planned for by the Local Authorities.
“Furthermore councils will need to work across local authority boundaries to deliver new settlements. Setting up special vehicles such as new town development corporations can help deliver the long-term vision, reduce risk to investors and developers and help pull sites together.
“Finding the land will be key. We need to encourage landowners to bring forward sites at a price that ensures schemes are deliverable. One possible route is the creation of contracts through which landowners retain a share in the project.”
“It’s good to see government funding to help deliver Starter Homes on brownfield land. The Land Fund helps pay for cleaning up brownfield sites and aims to support the delivery of 30,000 new homes. These are homes which would have been harder to build without this financial assistance.
“However, the government have also set themselves a target of building 200,000 Starter Homes. That leaves 170,000 to go.
“We expect these to be brought forward through the planning system which means they are likely to replace homes that would have been delivered through other tenures including affordable rent. We would question whether this approach will lead to an overall increase in house building.”