‘Foreign stamp duty surcharge will cause inflation’

23 October 2020 | General

The 2% stamp duty surcharge affecting non-residents will seriously impact developers and may cause inflation, tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg has warned.

The surcharge will come into force in April 2021 in England and Northern Ireland.

Sean Randall, a partner at Blick Rothenberg, said: “Its aim is to control house price inflation by reducing the number of purchases made by non-residents. But it may well cause inflation in the long-term after the impact of COVID-19 falls away.

“This is for two reasons. First, many UK housebuilders rely on off-plan sales to fund new developments. Overseas buyers are a major market for off-plan sales. If they are pushed away new developments may fail to get off the ground.

“Secondly, some of the largest developers in the “private-rented sector” and affordable housing would be regarded as ‘non-resident’ under the proposed rules because the UK companies used to purchase sites are controlled by non-residents.”

He went on to say that the stamp duty cost will not only affect the viability of future schemes, but also impact long-term schemes that have already been entered into based on what is now an incorrect forecast of the stamp duty cost.

He added: “The existence of a chronic housing shortage in the UK is indisputable. Overseas developers responsible for increasing the level of housing stock in these key sectors in England and Northern Ireland should be rewarded, not penalised.

“Our attempts to persuade the government that an exception should apply to developers have been rejected. We are still hopeful that the government might realise that the impact on overseas developers is not acceptable collateral damage.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Wire.