Foreign property purchasers to face surcharge

Foreigners looking to purchase a property in the UK could soon have to pay a surcharge on stamp duty no matter who wins the upcoming General Election.

The Conservatives have revealed that they plan to impose a three per cent surcharge on stamp duty for non-UK tax residents purchasing properties in England should they retain power after next month’s election.

Currently, foreign nationals and businesses from abroad are able to purchase properties just as easily as UK resident. However, Chief Treasury secretary Rishi Sunak has stated that large amounts of foreign investors inflate house prices and make it harder for first time buyers to enter the market.

“Evidence shows that by adding significant amounts of demand to limited housing supply, purchases by non-residents inflate house prices,” Sunak said. “While we will always be open to people coming to live, work, and build a life in this great country, the steps we are taking will ensure that more people have the opportunity of a great place to live and build a family.”

The Labour Party has also suggested applying a levy to overseas companies buying housing, therefore giving local people the priority for purchasing homes built in their area.

The party has said it would charge firms and trusts (not individuals) from abroad looking to buy properties an additional 20 per cent on top of existing stamp duties and surcharges.

“A company purchasing residential property benefits from the UK’s infrastructure and legal framework, and ought to pay a small levy to acknowledge that,” the Labour manifesto states.

What’s more, the Liberal Democrats manifesto also contains a pledge to increase stamp duty for foreign buyers of residential property.

Between 2014 and 2016, it is estimated that 13 per cent of homes London alone were bought by non-residents of the UK.

Article published 26th November 2019