Lowdown On Leeds – London of the North?

Millennium Square & Civic Hall

Leeds is one of the most well-known cities in the North of England and an increasingly popular place to live and work. The history of Leeds spans more than 800 years, and a whole host of fascinating things have occurred in and around the city. Let’s see what draws so many people to the West Yorkshire city right now. Looking for an investment opportunity in Leeds? Visit our property investment in Leeds section to see what’s available now!

Things to do in Leeds

Some of Leeds’ most popular tourist attractions include Millennium Square, which is found just outside the railway station and is a short walk away from the City Museum, Civic Hall and the Town Hall. A large number of events take place in the square each year, with high-profile sports events playing on the big screen and an outdoor ice rink welcoming skaters in the school holidays. The Royal Armouries Museum is one of Leeds’ best-known attractions and is home to military hardware that dates back hundreds of years.

Music, theatre and TV

The city is also known for its cultural scene, with key venues including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Grand Theatre, the 02 Academy, the Brudenell Social Club and the First Direct Arena. Leeds Festival takes place every August Bank Holiday Weekend at Branham Park, with a number of lower-key festivals also occurring throughout the summer. Soap fans should be left mesmerised by the Emmerdale Studio Experience, which was made open to the public a few years ago. The indoor sets are based at the ITV complex on Kirkstall Road, though you can also stroll through the outdoor set at the Harewood Estate around three miles away.

Lowdown On Leeds - London of the North? Aspen Woolf

Image Credit: Francisco Perez

Shopping in Leeds

The Kirkgate Market can be found in a charming Edwardian building in the centre, although some stalls are now located outside due to its growth over the years. The market is home to 200 stalls, including places to stock up on clothes, jewellery, local produce, hardware and cuisine from around the world. The Victoria Quarter is what has helped Leeds become known as “the Knightsbridge of the North”. The quarter is one of various elegant shopping arcades that you’ll see around the city, with brands including Harvey Nicholls, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood all having a presence here. Even if you’re not shopping for high-end clothing and accessories, you can still admire the stunning architecture whilst enjoying a latte or two at one of the various cafes and restaurants.

Victorian grandeur

Shoppers looking for something a little out of the ordinary are well catered for by the Corn Exchange. This circular building also dates from the Victorian period and was once a farmers market. Today, it’s a great place to purchase all manner of strange and wonderful accessories as well as musical instruments, clothing and goods for the home. Known as a quirky, ‘alternative’ place to shop, the Corn Exchange is home to far more independent retailers than well-known brands.

Nightlife in Leeds

Leeds also has a great reputation when it comes to cuisine and is home to a large number of authentic South Asian restaurants and acclaimed Italian, Japanese, Thai and British-orientated eateries. Partygoers are well catered for across the city centre, but one of the biggest hubs for nightlife is Call Lane, which plays host to a diverse mix of electrifying clubs and bars. Leeds has recently been tipped for the highest growth in house prices across the UK, with JLL predicting growth of 17.1% by 2023, a figure that could see it leapfrog Manchester and Liverpool. Leeds offers a diverse mix of housing, including luxury city centre flats, sprawling rural homes, terraced, semi-detached and detached properties, catering for a wide range of budgets. Leeds is also gaining a greater reputation as an exciting place to do business. New data from Data Commons for UK tech found that investment into the tech companies of Leeds broke Northern investment records in 2018, with the figure standing at £108.8m. It’s also possible to reach London from Leeds within as little as 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Quirky facts about Leeds

The oldest flying aeroplane in Britain was built in Leeds. The Blackburn Type D was built by Robert Blackburn today, and you can still see it in action today, albeit in Bedfordshire. The deal to bring Cluedo to the masses was signed in Leeds when games maker Waddington was based there, eventually being made available in 1949. Another fact you might be surprised to learn is that the second ever Ryder Cup actually took place in the Moortown area of Leeds back in 1929.

Steeped in history

Marks & Spencers actually started life in Leeds, at Kirkgate Market. The brand was first launched as a penny bazaar stall by Michael Marks, who collaborated with Tom Spencer to develop the business. The city also plays host to the final remaining gas lit cinema in the UK, the Hyde Park Picture House. This venue celebrated its 100th birthday in 2014 and retains a number of charming original features. The city also has the oldest continuously operation public railway in the world. You can still ride on the Middletown Railway today, some 261 years after it was first opened to transport coal. The city was also home to hippos at one point – in 1984, the bones of a hippo were discovered in Armley, with experts suggesting they could date back some 130,000 years. Today, the bones can be seen in the Leeds City Museum. The first black player to play in an FA Cup final did so in the colours of Leeds United FC. Albert Johanneson was on the losing side at Wembley as Leeds lost 2-1 to Liverpool.

Leeds’ cultural heritage

The city has also been home to a considerable number of legendary authors, including Alan Bennett, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Tony Harrison. J.R.R. Tolkien was even based in Leeds at one point. The Lord of the Rings author was the youngest professor at the University of Leeds in the early 1920s. The first ever motion pictures were shot by Louis Le Prince in 1888, where he captured footage of the Leeds Bridge and Oakwood Grange.

Selective Licensing

Selective licensing buy to let property investment

There is no doubt that landlords have had to put up with a good few changes in the buy to let market over the last few years. There are plenty of anecdotes on the internet citing the problems this is causing.

Landlords may complain about not making good returns but the truth is that BTL is still a profitable and highly efficient way to invest in property. It delivers profits from rising house prices as well as from rental income despite increases in stamp duty and new fee regulations coming into effect.

One increasing issue that you’ll find discussed in buy to let forums is the number of councils that are now introducing selective licensing, with 1 out of 4 boroughs currently running schemes.

Here’s our take on selective licensing and what it means for your buy to let property investments. It doesn’t have to mean you are left out of pocket, especially if you choose your investment areas wisely.

What is Selective Licensing?

Essentially, it means you need to apply to the local council for a licence to be a landlord. To do this, you need to prove that you are a suitable person and show that the property you have to rent is actually fit to be lived in.

Identifying the areas that have introduced selective licensing can be a little confusing and it’s easy to get caught out if you don’t have the right information or advice. Even within different councils or boroughs, it’s not utilised universally. The reasons for bringing in selective licensing in a particular areas can depend on a couple of factors including that there is a low demand for housing or because there have been instances of anti-social behaviour which councils feel landlords contribute to.

Selective licensing doesn’t apply to all landlords either. If you own a house, you are a private landlord and are in a designated area you will need to apply. If you are a housing association, own a holiday let, are a university with its own accommodation or have business premises that are occupied by members of your family, you don’t need to apply.

You may, of course, find that your property is suddenly in an area that the local council has designated with selective licensing, even after operating as a reputable business for a number of years. In this case, you will still need to apply for a license.

The upshot is that the rules can vary for different areas so it’s worth checking whether you fall under the conditions that mean you need to get a license.

The Benefits of Selective Licensing

While it all seems a little confusing, the idea of selective licensing is to help improve standards. It’s not there to punish landlords, although it can appear to be just that. If you already run a HMO where licensing is required, you won’t be particularly phased by this change.

Councils cannot introduce selective licensing for just any reason. The primary one is that the area is suffering from persistent anti-social activity and the local landlords are failing to take action to control it. The benefit here is that it is designed to improve the level of rental properties in the local area which can also benefit landlords.

Selective Licensing Aspen Woolf

For councils, it can be about ensuring that landlords provide adequate facilities for their tenants. There are plenty of horror stories in the media where disreputable landlords have not only left their properties in states of disrepair but put the health of residents at risk as well. If you’re a reputable landlord too, ensuring these bad eggs are weeded out of the system can be beneficial for both you and potential tenants. Applying for a license means that you need to have things like your gas safety certificate, smoke alarms and electrical equipment and wiring that is in good order.

If you are in an area where selective licensing is present, your application lasts for 5 years before you need to think about renewing it.

The Disadvantages of Selective Licensing

Most landlords will tell you that the big disadvantage of selective licensing is the cost. This can vary from region to region as can the areas that are using the licensing. In regions like London, you may be paying well over £1,000 per property while in Liverpool you could be looking at £400. If you are in a selective licensing area and fail to apply and register your property with the local council, you could also be liable to a fine of up to £30,000.

Head onto social media and you’ll find a lot of landlords who are unhappy that their profit margins are being further squeezed by the cost of applying for selective licensing. Councils have been accused of employing money making schemes and that they are making landlords directly responsible for areas where anti-social behaviour exists.  

How to Avoid Selective Licensing

While these are all valid arguments, it’s unlikely that selective licensing is going to disappear anytime soon and may well increase. Because of its nature, however, it doesn’t have to be the drain on resources that some landlords have found. Choose the right locations and make your investments wisely and it’s likely you won’t have to worry about selective licensing at all, at least not for the immediate future.

It pays to work with a property agent that knows what they are talking about when it comes to selective licensing. At Aspen Woolf, we handle a wide range of properties from London and Manchester to Luton and Leeds and understand the licensing requirements in each city.

The truth is that property investment, especially in the buy to let market, is still highly profitable. First of all, levels of rentals and tenancies are at an all-time high and people are always looking for great accommodation in decent areas. If you make good choices on which property you invest in and attract the right tenants, combined with the rising value of your home, there is still plenty of profit to be made.

If you’d like to find out how Aspen Woolf can help with your future BTL property purchase, contact our expert team today.

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation

Liverpool Skyline

Liverpool has been a growing city as recent modernisation projects and new developments have turned an all-ready thriving city into one that has moved into the 21st century.

As one of the most prominent cities in the UK and in a prime location in the north, it has always been on the radar of investors. As the city has grown in population and seen a lack of housing supply, it has been an investors haven, particularly in the residential sector but what about the student accommodation sector?

Is there a demand?

When it comes to top universities, Liverpool is up there as one of the best and that has increased the demand from students to study there. With this demand has come an increase in the construction of purpose-built student accommodation and that also has to compete with the traditional student accommodation.

Analysing the figures might paint a certain picture but perhaps investors should still keep an open mind when it comes to investing in student accommodation in Liverpool. As it currently stands, there are 6,000 student bed spaces being constructed and this will be added to the already increasing number of student properties in the city, and that has left investors feeling slightly hesitant about investing in this sector in the city. This is understandable, especially when reports from the likes of Savills says that the supply of property is surpassing the demand from students. Worrying it might seem, and this might leave investors thinking that the days of high yields and low competition have gone.

Around the city centre, it is clear to see that the student accommodation sector is still thriving. Large developments are punching their way into the skyline with some developments having the ability to house over 1,000 students. There are many smaller developments taking place and over the last three years alone more than 5,800 bed spaces have been created.

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation Aspen Woolf

Investment Opportunities Remain

Liverpool is already home to Purpose Built Student Accommodation but a large portion of that comes in the form of student accommodation located in the suburbs. Many years ago, students were seeking this kind of accommodation and that saw more and more properties being turned into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in an attempt to soak up the demand. While students used to have a need to live in the suburbs, they have now changed and this has meant that they have a real appetite to live in the centre of the city. Here they can be close to campus as well as the lively atmosphere and wide range of bars and restaurants. As a result, many of the student accommodation properties located on the suburbs are now being altered to accommodate young professionals who are living and working in the area but require more space and peace in the suburbs. This has meant that older student properties are being taken out of the sector, potentially leaving a gap for more centrally located student accommodation to be built.

Another positive is that in recent years, the number of students has increased considerably. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, the number of students increased from 50,000 to 60,000 and that number has grown and will continue to grow. So much so that the universities in Liverpool only provide beds for around 16% of their students and so, that means that the 84% shortfall has to be made up somewhere. This is where opportunities become apparent for investors.

Is Liverpool Oversaturated With Student Accommodation Aspen Woolf

Investors should begin looking at the bigger picture and the way in which student numbers are going to grow. This is a figure that will not only grow as a result of domestic students but also overseas students. More and more foreign students are choosing to come to Liverpool for the high standard of education and with that comes an increase in demand for first-class accommodation. Students from Europe, China and Japan have a different set of needs when it comes to student accommodation and they are often more willing to pay higher prices for better accommodation with more features. Therefore, they often opt for student accommodation that has a lot more space and features such as security, gym’s, communal areas and luxury features that most would associate with accommodation in the residential sector. Along with this, international students require good access to transport links as well as the vast array of bars, restaurant and shops that can be found in the centre of Liverpool. So, in years gone by where they would have opted for an HMO located in the suburbs, they now have a new desire for excellent quality and a great location. This has meant that the outdated student accommodation is being cast aside.

When it comes to investing, investors need to pick their investments wisely and perhaps not focus too much on the figures. The needs of students are changing and with that should come a new approach from investors. Therefore, they should be focusing on accommodation that is within close proximity of excellent amenities, a high standard of quality and finished as well as other services that students can make use of.

Essentially, even though there are many developments springing up throughout Liverpool that are aimed solely at students, there are opportunities. Old landlords who were once the choice of students throughout the city are having to re-purpose their properties because students are no longer valuing lower priced rents. They are now looking for simple access to lectures and a short walk home after a night out and that is why the repurposing of old properties will help to readdress the increase in supply. Once the out-of-city HMOs have been removed from the sector, it will enable investors to make the most of the increase in demand once again. So, not everything is as it might seem and even if the figures are not looking favourable, things are likely to change and with that comes plenty of opportunities to invest.

 

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment?

Manchester city buildings skyline

Manchester is a key economic area and one of the most high-profile cities in Europe. The city is home to the UK’s second-largest city and regional economy and is also a key area of the Northern Powerhouse. The city has benefitted from the devolution of power and is able to choose some of its own budgets and spending. This has made it free to develop policies designed to attract investment from overseas.

Constant large-scale investment

The city is also known for its thriving media scene, musical history and footballing heritage. Investment continues to transform the city for the better, with new facilities springing up all the time and its skyline constantly evolving. The European Structural Funds programme delivered approximately £366 million to the city, enabling it to create jobs, invest in businesses and fund education. The city is also regarded as one of Europe’s most impressive tech hubs and is noted for its exceptional transport links, leisure facilities and affordable properties, with growing numbers of people relocating from south-east England and overseas to take advantage of its many benefits.

Key growth generators

One of the main generators of recent growth is the Greater Manchester City Deal. This fund is largely centred upon what’s known as an ‘earn back’ scheme. This has enabled the region to recoup extra tax revenue from gross value added (GVA) increases from infrastructure development. The deal has created an apprenticeship and skills hub, raised the number of opportunities offered by the Business Growth Hub and enabled the city to attract further inward investment. It has also established a housing fund enabling further property developments and made billions available for investment. The impact of the scheme is predicted to deliver £1 billion each year to the city by 2025. Money from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has helped create almost 6,000 jobs, despite the original target being just 3,700. The Manchester Enterprise Zone, The Corridor, One St. Peter’s Square and Manchester Central also provide further clear evidence of the region’s continued extraordinary growth.

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment? Aspen Woolf

Career and leisure opportunities

The City of Manchester is generally regarded as the heart of the North West. It offers outstanding career opportunities in areas like law and finance, public service and the media. It is also home to 100,000 students and frequently plays host to some of the biggest and most prestigious names in entertainment. Amazon is currently setting up a base in the city, whilst a new GCHQ office is also set to open soon.

Other key attractions

The city’s colleges and universities have produced 25 Nobel Prize winners, with the Manchester Arena being the largest indoor concert venue in Europe. The city is also home to a huge range of cinemas, art galleries, boutiques and independent shops and is within a short drive of some of the UK’s most picturesque scenery, including the Peak District, Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. Manchester Airport was named the UK’s best at the 2015 Globe Travel Awards, with the city producing 3.5% of the nation’s GVA. Its ever-evolving economy has enabled the city to weather the storm even during some of the most troubled economic times.

Greater rental yields

Rents are also on the rise due to the growing demand for accommodation across the city. In fact, rental costs had soared by 30% over a four-year period, according to research carried out by the Manchester Evening News. The Manchester City Council area was the joint-most expensive area to rent a Greater Manchester home in between Oct 2017-Sept 2018, with figures standing at £775 per month on average, with Trafford sharing first place.

Residential and commercial property expansion

More and more property investors priced out of areas like London are now looking to Manchester to help them achieve their targets. New facilities including bars, restaurants, shops and leisure venues are constantly appearing on the streets of Manchester, which is also eclipsing many of its big-name rivals when it comes to house price growth. Research undertaken by Hometrack found that prices had grown by 6.6% on average year-on-year. The average price for a Manchester property stood at £168,900.

Is Manchester Buy To Let Property A Good Investment? Aspen Woolf

Growth outside the city

Growth is also being seen in other areas of Greater Manchester miles away from the city. Bury was showing the second quickest level of growth at 20%, with Salford rents increasing by 18%. Bolton has a rise of 17%, whilst Stockport experienced a 13% rise. Investors drawn to the area don’t have to miss out if they are unable to take advantage of opportunities in the Manchester City Council area. Greater Manchester is home to some 2.5 million residents, with a large number of these seeing substantial house price growth. Many of these areas offer quick and easy access to the city centre, making them ideal for commuters in rented properties. Each of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs have their own decision-making powers and is part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority led by mayor Andy Burnham.

More buy-to-let options

Investors seeking buy-to-let property opportunities in the M1 postal area can expect to enjoy yields of around 5%. Suburbs just a few miles outside of the city centre like Levenshulme are home to a large number of affordable buy-to-let properties offering yields of around 5-6%. Yields of approximately 4% are on offer when you buy in the more sought-after, leafy locations of Chorlton and Didsbury. Castlefield and New Islington are a short walk away from the city centre and play host to state-of-the-art luxury accommodation. Student-friendly areas including Fallowfield and Rusholme offer quick links to the big Oxford Road universities. Conventional M14 homes can deliver yields of more than 7%, but you could see a return of at least 12% by investing in a house of multiple occupancy (HMO). Ensure you do your research, and your buy-to-let portfolio could bring you fantastic rewards; check out our tips for investing in the buy to let market whether you’re an old hand or just starting out.

If you are looking for new areas to invest in property and are seeking exciting locations that are well and truly on the rise, Manchester and its surrounding towns and cities may well deliver the generous yields that you desire. For our top picks for investment in Manchester, visit this page.

Property Investment Hotspots 2019

Bradford property investment 2019 aspen woolf

The mantra for 2019 when it comes to property investment seems to be making it Brexit-proof. While we still don’t know the likely outcome and investors may be worried, finding the right regions to put your money into is still as important as ever.

The key factors remain, therefore, when you are seeking a property in England that will give you a strong return. You should be looking at areas which have younger populations, growing job prospects and the prospect of future development. That may mean heading out of London for many investors and looking for bargains in slightly less well-trodden regions that have plenty of potential.

Many of these are currently in the Midlands and in the North West and East. Areas like Bradford, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool are all certainly worth taking a closer look at. Here we take a look at the best property hotspots for the next 12 months.

Bradford

The North of England is increasingly viewed as a profitable area for investment and in many areas, you can get quickly start to build a really strong portfolio. Bradford is a fairly large town that’s ideally placed just a few miles from Leeds, and is cheaper to invest in than its slightly more “upmarket” neighbour. The area, in general, is starting to undergo significant regeneration which is an important marker for investors. Back in 2018 £75 million was committed to a number of city centre regeneration projects (with a masterplan for 2018-21) in order to attract the “urban entrepreneurs” of the future to the city.

There’s plenty of charm when it comes to the existing building stock too, with many properties that are likely to appeal to professionals who want somewhere low cost but attractive to set up home. Much of the beautiful gothic architecture remains, often converted into affordable apartments that could make for an excellent investment. In fact, Aspen Woolf have a number of such opportunities available in beautiful old buildings that are currently being refurbished.

You can still pick up one bedroom flats for between £40,000 and £60,000 if you select the right location and you can find a lower end terrace for around £70,000 in some areas. The town centre is probably your best choice at the moment and while there are some locations you may not want to buy just yet, these are well worth keeping an eye on as development progresses.

Property Investment Hotspots 2019 Aspen Woolf

Liverpool

From the doldrums of the 80s and early 90s, concerted regeneration and business investment have made Liverpool a pretty good choice when it comes to property investment. It’s a city with a fairly strong, younger population under the age of 30 and property prices have increased by around 25% in the last five years. Areas such as the Waterfront and city centre have been transformed over the last two decades and it remains an attractive location for creative industries such as art and music.

There is a growing young, highly professional workforce occupying the city centre and they’re mostly looking for long-term rentals. With a booming economy, it’s a surprise that house prices still remain some of the lowest in the UK. According to Zoopla, the average price of a property in the city is £173,000 with values rising 24.48% in the last five years.

Leeds

Not far from Bradford is Leeds. It’s a thriving university city that has a significant student population and that alone should make it attractive. There’s a fair amount of gentrification going on here but it’s still not too late to get on board and, if you hunt around, there should be some solid investment opportunities to take advantage of that will give strong returns.

For buy to let landlords who want to invest, there are no less than three universities in the city and there are potentially good yields with even with the average semi-detached prices at a shade just over £200,000. According to Right Move, house values have risen 6% in the last year, which is not bad when most people are worrying about a static market. Combine that with a competitive rental market and you have the best of both worlds.

Manchester

Like its near neighbour Liverpool, Manchester is a great location if you are looking to invest in property. With a population of over a half a million, there’s also a large student market looking for somewhere to stay. The city is home to a sizeable professional population who are also searching for high-quality accommodation. It’s a region that hosts major sporting and cultural events, all of which attract people from not only the North West but from far-flung reaches of the globe.

Often tagged as the London of the North, there has been a lot of investment infrastructure, particularly in areas like Salford Quays and it’s now a really cosmopolitan location that has a lot to offer.

The house prices are changing quickly and the Evening Standard reported last year that values had risen by 34% in the last three years. There are still areas where you can pick up a bargain in the city, particularly in the suburbs. The widening gentrification means you can expect decent returns if you get on board at the right time in the right area.  

Property Investment Hotspots 2019 Aspen Woolf

Birmingham

The Midlands have always been a strong area for property investment and it’s no surprise that Birmingham is near the top when it comes to UK hotspots. With a larger population than most other cities outside of London, property prices have grown by nearly 30% over the last five years.

Like Manchester, you’re looking at another fairly young population with a 65,000 strong student population to boot. The key factor is that the students tend to stay on in Birmingham more than other cities which means there is also a growing and sustainable population of new professionals. The potential for growth with the developing HS2 means that Birmingham is less than an hour and a half away from London.

The average house price according to Zoopla is just a shade over £200,000 but heading out to the suburbs can reveal some better deals. Particularly good buy to let hotspots can be found in areas like Edgbaston, Holloway Head and Erdington.

Nottingham

Finally, not far from Birmingham is Nottingham. This is a city that will also benefit from the development of the HS2 rail link and has a thriving, fairly young professional population. There’s a decent student population too but also families looking to rent in many areas of the city. Still relatively cheap property prices mean that this is a good area to get in at the initial stages of development and which could deliver great dividends if you invest wisely.

The average property price is just over £207,000 with a 28% increase in value over the last 5 years. For rental income and returns, it compares favourably with cities such as Liverpool.

If you are considering buy to let and other investment properties in locations such as Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, contact the professional team at Aspen Wolf to find out how we can help.

How Will The Autumn Budget Affect Property Investment?

Property Investors Investment Autumn Budget Finance

If you have read the news lately, it has primarily been dominated by the big ‘B’ of Brexit, however, there has been another big ‘B’ we should be aware of and that is the Autumn 2018 Budget.

By now, you will have heard and read about Chancellor Philip Hammond’s 2018 Budget update. Hammond opened the 2018 Budget, with a confident prediction that it would “open a new chapter in our country’s economic future.” This can leave many people pondering on how it will affect them and their businesses and families.

If you are you wondering exactly how this will directly affect you as a property investor then read on as we will outline the most important changes that you’ll need to know about, from changes to tax bands, important information regarding foreign nationals, changes to stamp duty as well as changes to Capital Gains Tax.  

Tax Bands:

In the Autumn Budget, changes to tax bands were discussed regarding the 2019/2020 year. The personal tax-free allowance where the 40% higher tax is applied will rise from £46,350 to £50,000. Although it may seem small and many landlords were dismayed by the news, we have to be positive as this is still an increase on last year’s figure. Also important to note, is that the threshold for VAT registration will remain unchanged for two years. Read our post to discover if it is worthwhile to invest in property via a limited company rather than as an individual.

Stamp Duty:

In the Autumn Budget, the Government has stated that it will extend first-time buyer’s Stamp Duty relief in England and Northern Ireland to shared ownership properties, regardless of whether the purchaser chose to pay Stamp Duty on the market value of the property. This will even be eligible to be backdated to 22 November 2017, so that all of those who were not previously eligible can claim a refund.

Read about the other Stamp Duty change announced by Prime Minister Theresa May at the beginning of October, to the effect that foreign investors will be subject to higher charges.

How Will The Autumn Budget Affect Property Investment? Aspen Woolf

Foreign Nationals:

In the Autumn Budget, there was an important update regarding non-UK residents and international companies. It is vital to note that all non-UK residents and international companies that are intending on buying and investing in property will also be taxed on indirect disposals of UK land. These rules will apply when a person makes a disposal of an entity that derives 75% or more of its gross asset value from UK land. An exemption will be made available for investors in such entities who hold less than 25% interest.

There will be options available in order to calculate the gain or loss on a disposal using the original acquisition cost of the asset, or by using the value of the asset at commencement of the rules in April 2019.

Another aspect of the Autumn 2018 Budget was that all non-UK resident companies will be charged Corporation Tax rather than Capital Gains Tax on their gains. The Capital Gains Tax charge relating to the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings will be abolished. The legislation will broadly come into effect for disposals from the 6th April 2019.

Capital Gains Tax:

In the Autumn Budget, there were changes regarding Capital Gains Tax. This is especially important information for landlords as the relief that’s been granted reduces Capital Gains Tax on the sale of properties that have previously served as the landlord’s personal residence, but, which are currently being used to let out to tenants as their residential accommodation. This relief sees a maximum exemption of £40,000 per owner.

However, it is important to highlight that from April 2020, this exemption will only be available for landlords who live inside the property with the tenants. There hasn’t been any information regarding single tenants, so we assume that live-in landlords with only a single tenant are not eligible for the lettings relief, meaning that this will only apply towards accommodation with two or more people renting rooms, unless we hear clarification from the Government on this.

Read more about the various taxes property investors face here.

Are you a property owner? Great news, the time period between ceasing to occupy a house and final sale has been reduced from 18 to just 9 months. Though this change does exclude sellers who are disabled and/or who are living in a care home, they will continue to receive the 36-month exemption.

How Will The Autumn Budget Affect Property Investment? Aspen Woolf

Housing News:

In the Autumn Budget, there were some interesting pieces of news regarding the wider housing industry market. Firstly, The Housing Infrastructure Fund will increase by £500 million, bringing the total to a figure of £5.5 billion. There will also be £8.5 million available in order to allocate land for affordable housing. This is great news for property investors looking to expand their portfolios.

Secondly, you may be aware that Sir Oliver Letwin was asked to investigate why it takes house builders such a long time to complete large housing developments after statistics revealed that just over half of the 684,000 homes with planning permission that was granted in July 2016 had actually been completed. The findings of his investigation were that “the idea that housebuilders are behaving like financial investors, speculating over future land values, is not compatible with how they run their businesses. Housebuilders’ profits are generated from selling homes, not from an increase in the value of land” he argues. The Chancellor agreed that the review did not find evidence that major house builders are engaging in land speculation as part of their business model.

Lastly, The Office for Budget Responsibility believes that GDP growth will be 1.6 per cent in 2019, up from previous forecasts of 1.3 per cent; 1.4 per cent in 2020 (up from 1.3 per cent); 1.4 per cent in 2021 (unchanged); 1.5 per cent in 2022 (unchanged); and 1.6 per cent in 2023. This steady growth can only mean good things for property investors.

To conclude, 2019/2020 seems like there will be a positive outcome forecast for property investors with plenty of reliefs including changes to Capital Gains Tax, increased tax bands, more money being delivered into investment funds, as well as Stamp Duty being extended.

Here at Aspen Woolf, we can help you with your property investment journey, whether you’re at the beginning or if you already have a vast portfolio, we have an expert team who are ready to hear from you today.