The ongoing housing crisis and battle between landlords and first-time buyers were the key points on the agenda at Chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 Autumn Statement on 25 November.

Whilst most of the content was pretty predictable, there were some surprises thrown into the mix, specifically in the buy-to-let arena.

Nigel Glossop of Alexander James Mortgage Services explains.

What are the new tax rules for landlords?
Unfortunately, it’s not great news. A new additional 3% stamp duty will be applied to any properties that are bought by landlords to let or as second homes.

For example, up until now, a buyer purchasing a £100,000 property to let out or to use as a second home would not pay any stamp duty under the rules that were brought in from last year’s Autumn Statement.

However, from April 2016, this same property will be subject to a 3% stamp duty fee, meaning an additional £3,000 cost.

Why has the Chancellor done this?
Whilst coming as a shock, the pressure Osborne would have felt from the ‘Generation Rent’ group makes it easy to see what he’s trying to do. Landlords and first-time buyers have been stuck in something of a ‘civil war’ in recent times, with landlords being blamed as being part of the reason that first-time buyers are currently struggling to get on to the property ladder due to the sheer number of properties that landlords own.

Of course, the real issue is the lack of housing supply but there is something of a mass hysteria around the country that landlords are out to stop first-time buyers getting their first homes like they are an evil collective, which obviously isn’t the case!

Does this mean that it will be easier for people to buy their first homes?
Possibly. The number of landlords will inevitably fall following the new rules, freeing up properties for buyers. Osborne also stated that the money raised from the stamp duty changes will go towards helping those who are struggling to buy their first property.

This is expected to be around £1bn by 2021. Not a small amount.

More help in the form of the Starter Homes schemes was spoken about during Osborne’s speech. Announced last year, the Starter Homes scheme will see new homes offered at a 20% discount on prices up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 around the rest of the country.

What will that £1bn go towards?
The Government has pledged to invest in Shared Ownership schemes around the country, promising 135,000 Shared Ownership properties, which will reduce rent for tenants that are saving for deposits.

London has always been treated as an entity within the UK as it tends to follow its own trends. Osborne explained that a London Help to Buy scheme is to be introduced which will see buyers with a deposit offered the chance to take out an interest-free loan worth up to 40% of the value of the property for up to five years. Think of it as a more generous version of the Help to Buy scheme seen around the rest of the country.

What happens next?
Other than the upcoming stamp duty changes for landlords which take place in April 2016, most of the schemes announced during Osborne’s speech have already been put into place.

It is expected, or rather, hoped that these substantial changes will begin to address the housing crisis that has inhibited first-time buyers from getting on to the property ladder in the last five years.

And whilst landlords may feel unfairly and harshly treated, first-time buyers should be feeling the positives by the end of 2016.

With all of the new schemes and changes, it is important that you contact a professional mortgage adviser when discussing your next steps.

Contact us
To speak to one of our financial services experts from Alexander James Mortgage Services, call Chancellors on 0333 6000 060.

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Correct at time of publication. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.