08 Mar 2017

The shift in emphasis in Government policy starting with the Autumn Statement and furthered in the Housing White Paper was a welcome change, putting the role of investors in new build Private Rented Sector (PRS) property front and centre in dealing with the housing shortage and recognising the ability of that market to deliver housing in large numbers and quickly. The Spring Budget missed the opportunity to build on those promises with anything substantive.

Once again, the chance to mitigate the 3% SDLT surcharge on additional residential properties was not seized. The Housing White Paper talked about changes to National Planning Policy Framework and possible alternate "family friendly" rental tenures whilst supplementary planning guidance has also suggested concepts of covenants and clawbacks on new build PRS schemes. All of this is presumably designed to give Local Authorities the comfort needed to support those schemes as part of the solution to their housing supply difficulties. Given those movements it now seems incongruous that the Government is seemingly not prepared to mitigate the surcharge to stimulate and accelerate PRS delivery.

Given the potential economic impact of Article 50 it is perhaps understandable that the Government is keen not to give up any income until the impact of that process is better known but with every opportunity that passes it looks increasingly like the Treasury is not prepared to give it up and investors in PRS are expected to deliver accelerated housing supply regardless of more meaningful support.

Tom Willows, Managing Associate, commented:

"From the Autumn Statement via the Housing White Paper and supplementary planning guidance the Government has made all the right noises about the importance of institutional investment into new build residential property as part of the solution to the housing crisis but again the Government has missed the opportunity to make an exception for institutional investors in relation to the 3% SDLT surcharge on additional residential properties, a change which would have undoubtedly accelerated investment and delivery."