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‘Landlords should get stamp duty surcharge exemption’

The government should make landlords exempt from the 3% stamp duty surcharge on second homes, argued Mary-Anne Bowring, managing director at property management firm Ringley Group.

She added that a rise in buy-to-let investment could also support housebuilding, as landlords are an important source of development finance through off-plan sales that are necessary to get debt funding for construction.

Bowring said: “There is a huge opportunity still for buy-to-let investors in the UK rental market, which is only predicted to grow in size.

“That’s why institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers are investing billions in building homes for rent, as they see an opportunity to secure income-producing investments that hold up well during a downturn.

“Government efforts to restart the housing market should reflect long term pre-existing trends and that includes the continued growth in private renting.

“If the government wants to kill two birds with one stone – boost activity in the housing market and provide much needed rental homes – it should exempt landlords from the second home stamp duty surcharge immediately.”

She added that rental housing is likely to prove more resilient during this downturn than other real estate sectors such as retail and offices, as people are more likely to rent rather than buy during a recession.

The number of renters was predicted to increase before the virus, as housing affordability and changes in lifestyle and the jobs market mean more people are renting and for longer. Bowring said these fundamentals should remain post-virus.