Posted on

“Increase stamp duty immediately” urges senior MP

“Increase stamp duty immediately” urges senior MP

The MP who chairs one of the most important committees in the House of Commons has urged the government to increase stamp duty immediately to stop runaway house prices and investors treating properties as assets, not homes.

Meg Hillier is the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, which is charged with overseeing government spending, has told other MPs in a debate: “We need to increase stamp duty immediately, while monitoring its effect, and we should increase it further for overseas purchasers.

“We should not have a housing market that has led to homes being owned by finance vehicles or absentee landlords who have no interest in it being a home but simply see it as an investment. Homes should be homes.

“Investment is all very well, but this is really damaging the future prospects of children in my constituency, some of whom will never have not only their own bedroom but maybe even their own bed between now and when they hopefully earn enough money to leave home, although frankly we are a long way off their earning enough money to buy a £750,000 flat.

“The government really need to step up. They talk about levelling up, but that is certainly not happening for many people in my constituency.”

Hillier is Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, and in the House of Commons Register of Interests’ Land and Property section has an entry dating back to 2015 saying: “A property in London from which rental income is received.”

In the debate Hillier also said: “The stamp duty holiday has been helpful to many people, but all that contributes to fuelling demand for housing while the government are not increasing supply.

“Those rising house prices put homeownership out of reach of so many of my constituents and people up and down the country. It is having a major dampening impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and on the economy in the long term. It does nothing for private renters and nothing for those in desperate need of affordable housing.

Much of the debate was given over to the new two per cent stamp duty surcharge o non-resident overseas buyers, introduced just over a month ago. Hillier did not believe it went far enough.

“Although we are seeing a two per cent uplift, it is not what was originally promised, and even that, I would say, is still not enough to prevent people from speculating, particularly in my constituency and elsewhere in London, on the expensive London housing market and overheating that housing market.”

She added: “The excuse is often that developers need the money because they cannot operate without that cash-flow model. I think they would adapt pretty quickly. In my constituency, there are blocks that local people have kept their eye on, wanting to try to buy, only to find they have already been sold en masse overseas. A stamp duty increase would help a little bit.”

Hillier also gave MPs examples of individuals she met at her constituency surgeries,  working for the NHS and living in rented accommodation with little likelihood of being able to afford to buy their own homes.

Posted on

Leading politician says sales tax on homes could help local buyers

Leading politician says sales tax on homes could help local buyers

One of the country’s leading politicians says a yet-to-be-revealed way of taxing property sales could be one way of helping homes become more affordable to local buyers.

Mark Drakeford – Labour’s first minister in Wales, and now well-known throughout the UK for his role during the pandemic – says: “It’s so sad that you can be raised in a community, to feel love towards that community, and then the door gets slammed shut in your face because the houses are too expensive for you to live there.”

According to the BBC’s coverage of his visit to north Wales, he said he hoped his administration’s future plans would help young people currently unable to stay in their home towns because of property prices.

“It will be some measures to do with the way we tax property sales, there’ll be measures to do with planning – rights local authorities will be able to use. There will be things we can use to do with land transaction arrangements.”

No specific changes to tax and planning rules have been released by Drakeford, whose party performed well in recent elections in Wales.

Land Transaction Tax is the tax that replaced stamp duty in Wales, introduced under Drakeford’s administration, while Wales is the only part of the UK where local authorities have powers to charge higher levels of council tax on both long-term empty properties and second homes.

Like the stamp duty levied in England, there is an LTT holiday currently underway in Wales.

For sales completed up to June 30 people can buy a home worth up to £250,000 without paying it, after Drakeford’s government scrapped the lowest rate of 3.5 per cent for homes costing more than £180,000.

Any amount above a sale price of more than £250,000 attracts a five per cent charge with higher rates for more expensive property.

For sales completed from July 1, buyers face the return of 3.5 per cent LTT on homes between £180,000 and £250,000.

Posted on

Apex Lofts, Digbeth, Birmingham

Apex Lofts has been designed with a core focus on occupier demand, through architectural innovation, pioneering integration and exceptional specification. The building, which offers 80 well designed one bedroom, two bedroom and duplex apartments is arranged over nine levels, providing stunning views over Birmingham’s iconic skyline. Cutting edge features have been incorporated into the design of Apex Lofts, such as the contemporary ’Saw Tooth’ roof, reflectant of the industrial heritage of the area. Facilities offered in the development include undercroft parking, cycle store, residents gym and SkyGarden. The units are delivered with fully fitted kitchens and bathrooms, complete with high-end branded appliances. The interiors at Apex Lofts take influence from contemporary aesthetics. The introduction of bi-fold windows and strategically positioned skylights allow for bright and airy rooms. Enhancing the use of space and natural light, these are high-specification apartments designed to suit a busy modern lifestyle.

Apex Lofts

Download the brochure for this amazing development.
FREE DOWNLOAD

Send download link to:

Posted on

Supply Drought Over? Big jump in property listings, reports Rightmove

Supply Drought Over? Big jump in property listings, reports Rightmove

The number of properties coming on the market is still not meeting the huge demand from buyers, but the level of new listings has improved according to Rightmove.

When comparing March and April listings with those of January and February, there was a jump of 51 per cent in the number of properties coming onto the market, with over 260,000 new homes coming up for sale over the past two months.

Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister says: “We’re hearing reports of some areas where properties are selling within a few days of being added to Rightmove, and the average time to find a buyer is the quickest we’ve ever recorded nationally.

“But we also know there are thousands of local markets and some are moving more slowly than others, so as a seller you’ll want your property being seen by the biggest group of buyers possible, giving it the best chance of selling and achieving the best price.”

Bannister’s remarks come as the portal has revealed a league table of neighbourhoods most viewed by consumers.

Top of the list of local neighbourhoods is Didsbury in Greater Manchester which is one of the most expensive areas within the county. The average asking price in Didsbury currently stands at £367,429, over £130,000 higher than the Greater Manchester average of £237,380.

Second on the list is Walthamstow in East London, where average asking prices have risen by 116 per cent over the past decade, rising from £230,888 to £499,534, and they are up by four per cent over the past year.

The only other London location in the top 10 is Chiswick, which is the only place on the list where asking prices are lower than this time last year, down by one per cent to £969,350, and down by nine per cent when compared with five years ago when they were above £1 million.

Bannister adds: “Our new analysis gives sellers in these local hotspots a clear indication of just how popular their area is, as it tracks the huge pool of the most eager prospective buyers who are signed up to find out instantly when a seller decides to bring their property to market. More buyers have realised they don’t have the luxury of waiting until the weekend to decide which properties they want to request to view, and so they’re making sure they’ve signed up to find out first when a home comes up for sale.

Posted on

Cybercrime warning to estate agents holding sensitive data

Cybercrime warning to estate agents holding sensitive data

A leading industry trade body is warning that remote-working agents and smaller independent agencies are particularly vulnerable to the growing threat of cybercrime.

Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says cyber criminals have found ways to exploit businesses by seeking out remote working security gaps.

“While working remotely has been an integral part of keeping people safe during the pandemic, it has also opened up opportunities for cybercriminals looking to infiltrate networks through more vulnerable IT systems” says Offley.

Earlier this week Rightmove revealed that six of its member agencies had systems hacked to alter listings on the portal. On top of that, there’s been a slew of reports from other industries to show data breaches are on the rise.

BAE Systems, Britain’s largest defence contractor, warns of a huge jump in botnet, ransomware and phishing attacks. Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland recorded over 6,000 cases of Covid-related fraud and cybercrime during the pandemic. And data from Interpol revealed that ransomware incidents have increased by over a third, with phishing and fraud claims increasing by 59 per cent.

The Guild’s Paul Offley continues: “If large corporate entities and government bodies are susceptible to being hacked, how much more vulnerable are independent agents or remote workers who typically have weaker technological defences.

“With insurers inundated with cybercrime claims, there has been a substantial increase in cyber insurance premiums, along with insurers requiring more data and ensuring that stricter risk management procedures are adhere to.”

He says that aside from deposits, rents and other money collected by agents on the lettings side, there is also a significant amount of sensitive data held by all agents that should be protected.

This includes client addresses, account details, alarm records and passwords to access homes, passport details and other ID information.

“Access to this kind of information is what has made the industry a target among cybercriminals” he warns.

“Another consideration should be cyber liability insurance, which would provide some peace of mind if an incident does occur. In fact, with eight out of 10 businesses in the UK having experienced a cyber security breach in the past year, cyber liability should be more than a consideration, it is essential.”

Offley gives this advice to agents:

– Regular password updates on all devices;

– Password complexity – use different passwords for different accounts;

– Never share passwords;

– Two Factor Authentication where appropriate;

– Staff training to be aware of phishing emails and the damage they represent. One in every 3,722 emails in the UK is a phishing attempt. Around half of cyber-attacks in the UK involve phishing;

– Software updates;

– Ensure files are encrypted;

– Monitoring of mobile and home working procedures;

– Never, under any circumstances, should a payment be made to a new bank account without verbal confirmation that the account details are genuine;

– Cyber Liability Insurance.

Posted on

Capital Gains Tax glitch hits property sales, says accountancy firm

Capital Gains Tax glitch hits property sales, says accountancy firm

Some sellers are suffering cash flow issues as a result of glitches in the Capital Gains Tax reporting system, according to a leading accountancy firm.

The issues arise when buy to let owners or those with multiple properties sell homes in consecutive tax years.

Elaine Shiels of RSM says: “Buy to let investors who are reducing their portfolio and owners of other properties which will give rise to a taxable gain on sale, may make taxable disposals in consecutive tax years. Obvious perhaps, but unfortunately HMRC’s systems cannot cope with that.”

She continues: “If the taxpayer reported a 2020/21 taxable gain online, reporting a 2021/22 taxable gain will almost certainly generate an incorrect calculation. HMRC describes this as a temporary problem and advises that vendors ask for a paper return to resolve the issue.”

Shiels says a second problem connected with Capital Gains Tax and property may be more worrying still.

To illustrate it, she gives the example of a couple who sold a property in May last year.

At the time, they were unaware of their income levels for the 2019/20 tax year but took a prudent view and paid CGT at the higher rate of 28 per cent.

They completed their returns appropriately but in the event had been overly cautious and overpaid CGT while underpaying both income tax and national insurance.

Shiels says, in a blog on the RSM website: “It is now emerging that, in these circumstances, HMRC is insisting that the additional income tax and national insurance liabilities must be paid in full.

“The overpayment of CGT can only be reclaimed by submitting an amended CGT return online. This feels unjust. If HMRC recognises the CGT overpayment, why will they not allow it to be set against other liabilities? Why should HMRC be entitled to charge interest and penalties on the income tax outstanding when overpaid CGT has not been repaid?”

She continues: “The way in which HMRC’s CGT system has been designed means that – far from being digital by default – second and subsequent disposals require manual returns. What’s more, taxpayers find themselves having to overpay tax unnecessarily and then struggling to secure repayments from HMRC. This testifies to the inadequate design of the CGT system and augers very badly for the next round of [the HMRC programme called] Making Tax Digital.”

Capital Gains Tax is figuring increasingly frequently in the property market.

Earlier this month an agent contacted Estate Agent Today to issue what he called “an urgent alert” about the risk of Capital Gains Tax being levied on vendors of some properties with dedicated home offices.

And there has been long-standing worry that the recommendations of a report from the Office for Tax Simplification, calling for CGT to be raised to levels similar to income tax, could be implemented by the government to recoup money spent on Coronavirus. Nimesh Shah, chief executive of tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, has warned that possible changes could be coming later this year.

Posted on

The Solarium Kew Bridge London

Composed of more modern developments and effortless transport links, Kew Bridge across the river is seeing a rise in prominence. There’s something for everyone just a stone’s throw away. Locations beloved by the community include The Stable, a familystyle gastro pub, and the Watermans Art Centre with facilities such as a cinema, theatre and various art galleries. Attractions nearby Kew Bridge include Michelin-starred restaurant, The Glass House, as well as Kew Village and it’s idyllic Sunday farmers market. The attractive riverside location still allows for tranquility and easy access to neighbouring leisure activities but is more affordable than its older brother Kew. Investors are taking notice as prices in Kew Bridge have risen an average of 48% since 2008 according to JLL. West London’s growing success is an opportunity for buyers who see the value of long-term capital gain as an alternative to purchasing in prime central London.

 

The Solarium Kew Bridge London

Download the brochure for this amazing development.
FREE DOWNLOAD

Send download link to:

Posted on

Birch House High Wycombe

The Old Works offers a dynamic collection of new-build studio, one and two bedroom apartments in a prime position. It’s attractive location amongst excellent local amenities and superb transport links, places The Old Works as a premium new home. When complete, The Old Works will boast 228 high specification apartments as well as commercial space. At the heart of the town centre and just a short walk from
Bucks New University, it will become a fundamental development in High Wycombe, adding to the rich and diverse architecture that surrounds the newly redeveloped High Wycombe town centre. Only a mile away from High Wycombe Station with direct links to London, The Old Works will make the perfect home for any commuting professional. Locations like High Wycombe are few and far between; an area that allows you to experience all of the benefits of the UK’s capital (in 30 minutes via train) whilst paying considerably less for the price of a property.

 

Birch House High Wycombe

Download the brochure for this amazing development.
FREE DOWNLOAD

Send download link to:

Posted on

East & Green Birmingham

East & Green is a striking modern development situated in the beating heart of Digbeth’s regeneration, just a 5-minute walk from The Custard Factory and Smithfield. The building is comprised of high specification one- and two-bedroom apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking vistas of With the new tram stop to the HS2 Curzon Station on its doorstep, East & Green is ideally positioned to attract the growing young demographic moving to Birmingham from London.

 

 

East & Green

Download the brochure for this amazing development.
FREE DOWNLOAD

Send download link to:

Posted on

Boat Haus Berlin Waterside Residence

Located in the south of Treptow-Köpenick, overlooking Lake Seddin on the Dahme River is the luxury waterside residence – Boat Haus. The residential complex consists of 58 apartments across 8 villas ranging from two- to four-stories, positioned around an inner piazza. Ground-floor apartments have a terrace or garden, while all other apartments have a balcony. Boat moorings with space for 40 boats and yachts are available on the private 200 metre waterfront and jetty with an
infinite view of Lake Seddin.

Stretching from the River Spree to the Müggelsee lake lies the sprawling district of Treptow-Köpenick. Proportionally, this district has the largest area of forest, waterways and lakes of any Berlin borough. Home to the beautiful old town of Köpenick lined with rowing, sailing clubs and jogging tracks along the riverbank. This truly is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Berlin.

Boat Haus Berlin

Download the brochure for this amazing development.
FREE DOWNLOAD

Send download link to: