Not for sale in the UK

By: Luca Ricciardiello

Much excitement was generated by the recent positive change in capital gains tax (CGT), which saw two major benefits for buy to let investors who might wish to sell any of their assets at any given time. First there was the fact that the level of tax was no longer determined by how long an asset had been held, something which had a punitive effect on those disposing of an asset they had not held for so long.

But this was not the only benefit. The range of tax levied, depending on taper relief, was between 24 per cent and 40 per cent. But any investor selling up since the new regime came in earlier this month will only have to pay a CGT flat rate of 18 per cent. Everyone wins, with those who have held their properties the shortest time being the biggest winners of all.

Perhaps it is for that reason that some analysts appear to have taken the view that there would be a mass selling of property investors. In one sense a logical case might be made, in the sense that those who had bought recently and realised it was a bad purchase could be keen to offload their property as soon as possible.

Yet such a consideration was not in the mind of Andy McQueen, director of Nationwide's specialist arms Mortgage Works and UCB Home Loans. Last week he told Citywire that one very good reason not to expect a sudden rush of sales was that the rule change was a permanent one, not a time limited measure. He stated: 'I don't think there will be a massive influx of properties for sale because it is not just for a short period of time'.

Nevertheless, he did note that one barrier to people selling up soon if they did want to had gone, commenting: 'The artificial nature of CGT and taper relief meant you would think about holding certain properties longer than you wanted to.

Mr McQueen's comments were a matter of prediction, but subsequently hard evidence to back up his views has emerged. A survey of its members by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) to test the notion that people were looking to sell up after the tax change has found that landlords are certainly not looking to bail out en masse. In fact, just two per cent are looking to cash in when their tenancy leases run out.

For Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, there is a clear explanation: 'Significantly, with the reduction in loan to value ratios by lenders leaving first time buyers struggling to access the housing market, rents are now rising sharply and the expectation is that this trend will continue.'

This, he added, meant that 'the incentive to cash in on the lower tax rate is being outweighed by attractive yields'. If the widespread notion that buy to let property is no longer paying its way were true, maybe one could expect large scale property sales. But the findings of the Rics survey suggest the reality is very different on both counts.

In today's world Property investment is an excellent investment option especially investment in UK.

Jim Barnaby is a real estate investment broker and successful property investment adviser delivering research and selected UK and overseas property investment solutions.

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