Friday, 15 December 2017

Bemused by the budget? Here’s what you need to know

IF you found yourself feeling at all confused by chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech last month,

IF you found yourself feeling at all confused by chancellor George Osborne’s budget speech last month, here are the six most important property-related facts in a nutshell, writes LUCY BOON



1. Boost for first-time buyers saving for a deposit

The chancellor announced a new Lifetime ISA which will be available from April 2017 for savers aged under 40. Holders of the Help to Buy ISA, which launched last December, will be able to roll up any savings into the Lifetime ISA without losing their tax-free benefits.





2. Three per cent stamp duty surcharge here to stay

The chancellor stuck to his guns on implementing his proposed three per cent stamp duty surcharge on the purchase of additional properties.

The rule came into play last Friday (April 1). Based on the £290,902 current average value of a UK home, the new three per cent loading means prospective landlords and second homeowners will see their stamp duty bill soar from £4,545 to £13,272.

The three per cent surcharge won’t apply to property priced under £40,000 (but good luck finding one of those).

3. Commercial property given a breather

Buyers of commercial property now benefit from a cut in their stamp duty rates, which includes a zero band on purchase prices of up to £150,000, a two per cent rate on the next £100,000, and a five per cent top rate above £250,000. The chancellor called it “a big tax cut for small firms”.



4. Investment in flood-risk areas

Osborne pledged £700 million to improve flood defences in areas where homes and businesses are at risk of flooding. To raise the cash, he will hike insurance premium tax by half a percentage point — a move he estimates will only translate into an extra £1 a year on the average home insurance bill.



5. Full steam ahead for rail links

The chancellor gave the green light to the High Speed 3 rail service between Leeds and Manchester which will reduce journey times and, crucially, allow people to live easily in one northern city and work in another — a pivotal factor when it comes to where to buy a home.

He also commissioned Crossrail 2, which will connect South West and North East London.

Henley can’t wait for Crossrail 1 — now called the Elizabeth Line — to open in a few years’ time, with our local stations at Reading, Maidenhead and Twyford (see a good property choice near to this last, above). Those of us living in Henley and the surrounding villages know the project has already had a dramatic impact on property prices along the route. It’s expected that Crossrail 2 will have a similar effect along its route.



6. Capital gains tax reductions, but not for buy-to-let

The chancellor slashed the rate of capital gains tax from 28 per cent to 20 per cent for higher-rate taxpayers, and 18 per cent to 10 per cent for basic rate taxpayers. But buy-to-let investors won’t benefit as the reduced rate will not apply to residential property sales.

ELIZABETH’S CHOICE (ABOVE)

THIS four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Hurst is a five-minute drive to Twyford, where Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line is scheduled to open.

Claire Holloway at the Wokingham branch of Romans, which is marketing the property, said: “This £995,000 family property is situated in the beautiful and sought-after village of Hurst, making it ideal for commuters to access London via nearby Twyford station.”



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