Call for limits on number of overseas residents buying property in the UK

An annual housing survey has unveiled strong support for limiting the number of overseas buyers in the UK and also says that Brexit has made little or no difference to the housing market.

Some countries have regulations limiting the investment allowed from overseas buyers or add extra tax, but according to the annual housing survey from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) members want to see a limit in the UK.

Some 54% said that they believe only British residents, irrespective of nationality, should be permitted to purchase residential property. This mirrors arrangements in Iceland and Singapore where only residents of those countries can purchase residential property.

It also found that 89% of AAT members would like to see some form of eligibility criteria imposed on overseas investors and 78% believe an additional tax should be levied against overseas property investors.

Only 8% believe that the UK should continue to impose no restrictions on overseas investors.

‘It doesn’t matter how many houses are built in the UK, there will never be enough to meet demand because demand is not simply coming from the 65 million currently resident in the UK but from across, Europe, Asia and America,’ said Phil Hall, AAT Head of Public Affairs & Public Policy.

‘It’s perhaps understandable that AAT members therefore strongly support some kind of restrictions on the purchase of residential property by overseas investors,’ he pointed out.

When it comes to Brexit 51% of AAT members believe that leaving the European Union has made no difference to the housing market whilst 8% think it has had a positive impact and 22% think it has had a negative impact.

‘The views of AAT members are clear in relation to Brexit and the housing industry, most believe it’s made little if any difference, with a small number of members believing it’s actually had a positive effect,’ Hall explained.

The survey also sought views on the buy to let market which has seen a number of major changes in the last couple of years. Views on the stamp duty surcharge for properties that are not the buyer’s main residence were mixed but there was more support for its maintenance than removal amongst AAT members.

Some 37% of AAT members would like to see the additional home stamp duty charge maintained compared to 26% who believe the additional tax should be scrapped. The number of those wanting the surcharge increased were identical to those favouring a reduction at 9%.

‘While views on the buy to let sector are mixed but there does appear to be more support for the maintenance of an additional stamp duty charge. This suggests members acknowledge and accept the policy reasons for seeking to dampen demand in the buy to let sector,’ Hall added.

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