Last minute rush to beat SDLT hike for second home owners

What a day! What a week! 

The residential team at Hedges have been rushed off our feet for the last 6 weeks with investors (and those stuck in a chain with investors) trying to complete acquisitions before the increased SDLT rates come into effect; the last couple of days have been especially manic! Today was the last day for completions to take place utilising the old (lower) SDLT rates and we have completed more transactions over the last 48 hours than we usually do in a month.

However, we’re now interested to see what will happen when the dust settles. Inevitably demand for investment property will decrease in the short term but what of the longer term prospects? Buy to let landlords have taken a bit of a battering from the Chancellor recently but, anecdotally at least, it would seem many are undeterred. Certainly our foreign investor clients haven’t really been able to grasp what all the fuss is about – at the end of the day it’s “just money” and the UK remains a very attractive (and safe) place to invest foreign capital.

More than eight in 10 (85%) estate agents reported an increase in the number of investors flooding the market ahead of a three percentage point stamp duty increase on the purchase of second homes, which starts on April 1.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), which released the report, said the added pressure from the buy-to-let market meant demand for housing was at the highest level for 12 years in February.