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Foreign buyer purchases to spike before 2% stamp duty surcharge comes into force

Foreign buyers and British expats are expected to show more interest in UK buy-to-let ahead of the 2% stamp duty surcharge coming into force in April 2021.

That is according to numerous property professionals, following the announcement made in the Budget on Wednesday.

Andy Foote, director at investment company SevenCapital, said: “Ahead of the April 2021 date we are likely to see a heightened interest or sense of urgency, particularly in the UK’s prime residential markets, as investors seek to secure their investment ahead of time and avoid paying the extra stamp duty.”

Roger Hughes, business development manager at Skipton International, said: “Customers purchasing buy-to-let property are generally looking at the medium to longer term in relation to their investment.

“As rental prices continue to rise and the UK rental market is strong we are seeing increased interest for mortgages for UK buy-to-let property”.

And Edward Heaton, founder and managing partner of buying agents, Heaton & Partners, said: “We may well see a rise in overseas buyers in the short term to get deals over the line before next April.”

Despite this encouragement, the response to the tax has largely been negative.

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of the Guild of Property Professionals, said: “Although designed to help control house price inflation and support UK residents to get on to and move up the housing ladder, news that foreign property buyers will be hit with a 2% stamp duty surcharge, introduced for non-residents from April 1 2021, will be a blow to the London residential market, which is home to the majority of the country’s international investment.

“It is also disappointing that once again nothing has been done to address stamp duty across the rest of the market as had previously been implied by Boris Johnson.”