Comment: Supporting Britain’s property investors

With a rising demand but growing shortage of rental properties, property investors are an essential part of today’s housing market.

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In the lead-up to the 2017 General Election, Britain’s major political parties each delivered a series of policy proposals in a bid to help satisfy property demand in the UK.

To achieve this, both the Conservatives and Labour sought inspiration from traditional economic modelling by pledging to increase the national housing stock over the coming five years.

While impressive in number and scope, one could not help but feel that these pledges failed to provide the policy foundations necessary for the property market to prosper in the long-term.

Most importantly, the incumbent government and its opposition again failed to recognise the positive role UK investors can play in stimulating the property market and positively contributing to housing supply.

Property investors undoubtedly have the potential to catalyse movement in Britain’s housing market.

Faced with a plethora of opportunities ranging from traditional Buy to Let investments to short-term refurbishment projects, investors have the flexibility to build a portfolio attuned to their long-term financial goals.

Over the past 12 months, the property market has been forced to adapt to momentous political announcements and landmark economic events, beginning with the EU referendum announcement to the more recent General Election.

Yet despite these events, the property market has proven its strength and resilience

In April 2017, the Office of National Statistics revealed that average UK house prices had risen by an impressive 5.6% year-on-year.

Market demand for property is continuing to drive prices higher, reaffirming its status as a safe-haven asset that can offer security in times of transformation and change.

Yet since the beginning of the 2015/16 tax year, Buy to Let investors have been faced with an extra Stamp Duty levy on every additional property purchase.

Moreover, recent cuts to the mortgage interest tax relief have also increased the financial burden placed on investors.

Deterring individuals from expanding their property portfolio threatens the long-term dynamism of the real estate market, and must be removed so that investors can continue to propel market movement.

While these measures have been put into place to ensure that property is readily accessible to all segments of British society, they will not provide the long-term relief required for housing to become an affordable option for the next generation of buyers.

Property investors have a positive role to play in this regard – not only do they galvanise the market, they contribute to housing supply through short-term refurbishment projects.

To ensure investors are able to act on their intentions, the government must ensure that real estate opportunities are readily accessible by investors, who are not hindered by undue financial costs.

Doing so will ensure the UK remains in a position of strength.

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