Stamp duty increase for UK landlords equivalent to 11 months net income

The cost of the new 3% stamp duty rate for UK landlords announced recently in the Autumn Statement would be the equivalent to 11 months income for the average mortgaged landlord, new research has found.

It is suggested that most private sector landlords buying after April 2016, when the measure is introduced, will likely try to offset the cost by offering less when purchasing.

It comes at a time when the rent on newly let properties has increased by 2% year on year, led by markets in the East of England, according to research by property services group Countrywide.

In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne announced an additional 3% stamp duty rate for landlords and second home owners. The research also suggests that the rate will put pressure on yields for landlords, unless they account for increased costs when buying.

Indeed, the research shows that if the higher tax burden is not factored into the purchase price of a property, it would mean a reduction in gross yield of 0.2%. That is equivalent to 11 months income for the average landlord, taking into account borrowing costs, based on the average loan to value of 68%.
 
Landlords in the South West and North East of England will see the highest cost relative to rental income, as the extra tax burden is equivalent to 14 months and 12 months of income, respectively. Those buying in the North West of England will see the least, with the extra stamp duty equivalent to eight months of income.
 
The majority of landlord purchases take place in London, the South and East of England and some 60% of homes sold to landlords in England this year were in these regions. Landlords in these areas will see the biggest cash increase in stamp duty, £6,000 on average.

However, high expectations of future house price growth will likely mitigate some of the impact of the tax increase. If prices grew at the same rate as the last five years, within 12 months the growth in house prices would have offset the cost of the additional stamp duty.
 
In the Midlands and North of England, 16% and 12% of total sales respectively are to landlords. Countrywide data shows that the average property bought by landlords in these regions would previously not have faced any stamp duty but will now face a £3,200 tax bill next year.
 
The changes to stamp duty come as the shortage of homes available to rent continues, levels of stock have decreased 5% year on year. The growing imbalance between supply and demand will continue to support rent increases in future months as tenants compete for fewer homes.
 
‘The stamp duty increase will impact landlords’ purchasing power. Many entering the market will be faced with a choice between making a lower offer when buying or having to cover the additional costs themselves, impacting yields,’ said Johnny Morris, research director at Countrywide.
 
‘Most landlords view property as a long term investment, on average holding a property for 17 years and larger investors will be exempt from the higher stamp duty rate. This means over the long term the private rented sector will continue to grow, but there’s likely to be a few lumps and bumps along the way as landlords get to grips with and adapt to the changing environment,’ he explained.
 
‘It’s unlikely the change to stamp duty will see an immediate impact on rents, Landlords are rarely able to pass on increasing costs to tenants, as rental prices are set by market forces. But if less landlords choose to invest in the sector in the short term, a fall in homes available to rent could put pressure on prices,’ he added.