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There are major changes to stamp duty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (with comparable changes taking place in Scotland at the same time) from the 1st of April 2016 and these changes will have a big impact on many people across the country. What these changes will mean to you will depend on who you are and what are your plans are in the property market in 2016 and beyond, but it is likely that there will be some impact of these changes on your life.

The changes focus on a 3% rise in stamp duty for people buying a buy-to-let property or a second/additional home.

Some people are exempt from these stamp duty changes

Anyone looking to buy a property at less than £40,000 or who currently owns a property valued at less than £40,000 will not be impacted by the changes made to people buying a second property or a buy-to-let home.

Exemptions also apply for people who own:

·         Houseboat

·         Caravan

·         Mobile Home

There is also an exemption for companies or institutions that own at least 15 properties.

Landlords will be affected by these changes

Given that the move has been brought in to reduce the number of buy-to-let investors snapping up properties, it is fair to say that landlords and potential landlords will be impacted upon by these changes. Anyone looking to buy an additional home after the 1st of April will have to spend more money in doing so.

This will impact on the rental yield a landlord can expect to earn, which may mean that investing in property isn’t a sensible investment for them. The rental yield for a landlord is based on the amount of money that they spent on the property, the amount of money that they spend on maintaining the property and their rental income. If all other aspects remain the same and the cost of buying a home increases, the rental yield a landlord can expect to receive will fall.

It may be that a landlord can reduce the amount of money they spend on maintaining the condition of their home or increase rent to maintain a rental yield but this will further impact on the demand for their property.

The changes have impacted on the property market already, even before they come into effect, with landlords buying property at a cheaper rate while they still can.

Property sellers

The fact that landlords have been looking to buy now before the changes come into effect means that there has been an increased need for property. Given that many sellers will have concerns about a fall in demand for property after the stamp duty changes come into effect, having the opportunity to place their property in front of a wider audience now is an attractive proposition. This means that many sellers have brought forward their plans to sell their property and are now looking to move on before the changes come into effect.

Tenants could be impacted on

If landlords have to spend more money on buying property, it is very likely that they will attempt to pass on some, if not all, of these costs to their tenants. After the stamp duty changes come into effect, tenants will likely find that a rent rise will be on its way. There will be some tenants who find that the changes, and the expected fall in demand, allows them a chance to get on the property ladder, but many tenants will find that there is not enough change or movement in demand for property to allow them to find affordable housing.

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