Boris plans double stamp duty for all UK expat property purchases

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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Expats planning to grab an inexpensive buy-to-let bargain will need to do so quickly in case the Boris party wins the UK election.

Property investors with an eye to the UK’s buy-to-let market are in for a shock should the Tory party win the UK’s upcoming election. In yesterday’s announcement, the UK’s answer to Trump promised a new surcharge on investors from overseas who, he believes, are fuelling the country’s housing crisis. Should he get his way and stay in No.10, increased stamp duty rates will apply to all residential property buyers who don’t pay taxes in the UK and who leave their properties empty.

All, it seems, does mean all, as the rule will include British expats living, retiring or working overseas, even if they’re purchasing a home for their eventual retirement back in the UK. The new law if brought in would affect some 70,000 deals every year, with the new three per cent levy being imposed on top of the already in place three per cent tax applicable to investors and second home buyers. Should this extra tax become law, it’s believed to be able to raise £120 million every year, a sum which a Tory government would use to fight homelessness. Or so it says.

It seems the majority of revenues from the new tax would be generated in the London region in which, over the two years from 2014 to 2016, saw one in every seven house purchases made by overseas buyers, whether British expats or speculators. Companies and wealthy individuals from Europe, the Middle East and Russia were the major buyers, either for investment property speculation or renting out at top dollar prices. Given the already high prices of even modest homes in or around London, the increase is likely to hit hard on expats within sight of retirement who’re planning to buy a home in advance.
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