25th March 2010

Budget 2010: A property market perspective

I do not think yesterday’s Budget went far enough to bolster the property market nor to help the first time buyer.  Whilst the changes to the Stamp Duty threshold are welcome, as with everything the devil is in the detail.  I would have preferred a much bolder approach from the Chancellor exempting all property transactions up to the value of £250,000 from Stamp Duty.  This would have been a much clearer approach and also much easier to police.

The definition of “first time buyer” is very specific – someone who has never had their name on the title to a property anywhere in the world, thus knocking out at one fell swoop a young couple, one of whom has never owned a property before and the other who has.  Will we also see a situation where older couples who are downsizing and who have a property in one of their sole name will be much better off buying in the other’s sole name to take advantage of these changes to the rules?

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I would have welcomed much more support for first time buyers with more pressure being put on lenders to increase the mortgages available and also perhaps a fund to assist first time buyers with their deposits.  This change could have been funded from changes to the Capital Gains Tax rules increasing the Capital Gains Tax payable on people who sell properties other than their sole or main residence within say a five year period.

I also think more could have been done to encourage property investors to come back into the market perhaps with the changes to the pension rules allowing a number of buy to let investment properties being purchased through a pension vehicle.

My feeling is that whilst the Budget is a step in the right direction more could have been done to help the housing market and in particular the first time buyer on whom the whole housing market chain relies.

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