A higher tax rate on house purchases due to start in April has caused a surge in demand from buy-to-let investors, new figures show this morning.
From April, buy-to-let investors will have to pay three per cent more in stamp duty land tax (SDLT) than residential buyers.
In December, 10 per cent more chartered surveyors in London said buyer enquiries had gone up, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said. It also revealed price momentum remained firm and near term price expectations were at a 20-month high.
“The housing market has experienced an unusually buoyant December. Those in the industry have been speculating that this is the result of the chancellor’s announcement last November,” said RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn.
“Potential buy-to-let investors are looking to pick up properties before the increased stamp duty levy comes into force in April. If that is the case, then we can expect to see the housing market heating up further over the next few months.”
Robert Green of London estate agent John D Wood said: “December was busier than normal as stamp duty changes have brought buyers back to the market, ahead of April.”
James McKillop of Knight Frank said: “The three per cent SDLT proposal in the Autumn Statement has led to more buyers firming up their intention to buy additional residences in my region before 1 April.”
The RICS survey also showed that while expectations of house price growth were high, London house prices grew at a slower rate than the rest of the UK .
The difference between the percentage of surveyors that said prices had gone up and those saying prices were down was 25 per cent in London, below the national average of 50 per cent.