Like I am sure many of you, we have been looking at the implications from the Budget announcements on Wednesday, and like us, I suspect most of you thought it didn’t hold too many surprises, given the government’s recent pattern of ‘leaking’ information ahead of time, and then confirming their plans.
Whilst there were lots of very big (and quite scary!) numbers, certainly in terms of the country’s debt, following all of the various support packages for the pandemic, there were also a number of very positive and encouraging signs, with the economy predicted to rebound to pre-covid levels later this year, as the vaccine rollout continues, and life get back to some sort of normality.
There were various help measures revealed, with an extension of the Furlough Scheme, assistance with VAT, Business rates, Taxation and Employment (we are currently advertising for 3 new roles!!), and in terms of property, we saw announcements on Stamp Duty, Foreign buyers and Mortgages.
We finally received confirmation that the current Stamp Duty ‘Holiday’ on homes up to £500,000 will be extended until the end of June, before tapering off and only applying to homes up to £250,000 until the end of September.
Relief I am sure for many purchasers and solicitors alike, and as some are already predicting, based on the increased activity in terms of website searches, perhaps assisting with another mini property boom as all of the pent-up demand is released?
Although perhaps more relevant to the London or other southern property markets, there were also new Stamp Duty rates proposed for purchasers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland who are not resident in the UK.
The new rates will be 2% higher than those that apply to purchases made by UK residents, and will apply to purchases of both freehold and leasehold property, as well as increasing Stamp Duty payable on rents on the grant of a new lease.
The surcharge will apply to land transactions with an effective date of 1 April 2021 or later, but transitional rules may also apply to some contracts exchanged (or substantially performed), on or before 31 March 2021, but not completed until 1 April 2021 or later.
The government will also be introducing a new mortgage guarantee scheme in April 2021, which will provide a guarantee to lenders across the UK, who offer mortgages to people with a deposit of 5% on homes with a value of up to £600,000.
Under the scheme, all buyers will have the opportunity to fix their initial mortgage interest rate for at least five years should they wish to.
The scheme, which will be available for new mortgages up to 31 December 2022, is designed to increase the availability of mortgages on new or existing properties for those with small deposits.
If you are considering any type of move within the property sector, whether Buying, Selling, Letting or Renting, please do not hesitate to contact one of our 9 local offices, where the team will be delighted to help you.
Caring about you and your property.
As ever, stay safe.