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The Impact of the Labour Government on UK Property Investment

The Impact of the Labour Government on UK Property Investment

Last night’s election of a Labour government in the UK is poised to bring significant changes to the property investment landscape. This blog explores the key impacts in areas such as interest rates, housing targets, house prices, international investment, and potential changes to capital gains tax.

The Impact of the Labour Government on Interest Rates

Lower Bank of England Base Rate

One of the anticipated economic changes under the new Labour government is a decrease in the Bank of England base rate. A lower base rate generally leads to reduced mortgage interest rates, which can have several implications for property investors:

  1. Increased Affordability: Lower mortgage rates mean lower monthly repayments, making property investment more affordable for investors.
  2. Higher Demand: As borrowing becomes cheaper, more individuals and investors may enter the property market, potentially driving up demand.
  3. Refinancing Opportunities: Existing investors may look to refinance their properties at lower rates, reducing their overall costs and improving cash flow.

The Impact of the Labour Government on Housing Targets

Ambitious Plans for New Homes

The Labour government has set a bold target to build 1.5 million new homes during its first term. This initiative includes a focus on developing brownfield and grey belt land, which can stimulate developer activity and offer a wider variety of options for investors:

  1. Increased Supply: The influx of new homes can help address the current housing shortage, providing more opportunities for investment.
  2. Variety of Options: Development on brownfield and grey belt land may lead to diverse property types and locations, catering to different investor preferences and strategies.
  3. Developer Incentives: Policies supporting new developments can encourage builders to undertake more projects, potentially leading to competitive pricing for investors.

The Impact of the Labour Government on House Prices

Post-Election Price Trends

Historical data suggests that house prices tend to rise in the 12 months following a general election. Research from Compare My Move indicates an average increase of 4.6% in the year after an election. Additionally, a majority win tends to result in a more significant price rise, with an average increase of 6.9%.

Short-Term Growth

Labour’s landslide victory could lead to short-term house price growth, offering immediate benefits for property investors. However, meeting the ambitious housing target of 1.5 million homes may stabilise prices in the mid-term as supply increases.

Long-Term Growth

Despite potential short-term fluctuations, historical trends show that UK property prices have a strong track record of long-term growth, typically doubling every 15-20 years, indicating that property remains a solid long-term investment.

The Impact of the Labour Government on International Investors

Increased Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Surcharge

The Labour government plans to increase the Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge for overseas buyers by an additional 1%. Here’s what this means for international investors:

  1. Higher Transaction Costs: The current average house price in the UK stands at £264,900 (Zoopla, June 2024). An overseas buy-to-let investor would currently pay £13,990 in SDLT. With the additional 1% surcharge, the SDLT cost would rise to £16,639, an increase of £2,649.
  2. Long-Term Strategy: UK property investment should be considered a long-term investment strategy. Over the years, increases in SDLT and transaction costs mean that the real benefits are the long-term gains investors can make from capital growth and the strength of the rental market. Despite the increased SDLT, the long-term capital growth and rental income potential can offset the initial higher costs. For example, JLL predicts an average price growth of 17.6% across the UK from 2024 to 2028, suggesting substantial returns over time.

The Impact of the Labour Government on Capital Gains Tax

Potential Increases

Although not confirmed, there is speculation that the Labour government may increase Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This uncertainty could lead to several investor behaviors:

  1. Rush to Sell: Investors might rush to sell properties to avoid potential CGT increases, possibly flooding the market in the short term.
  2. Exit Strategies: Investors should ensure they have a robust exit strategy and understand the implications of any tax changes.
  3. Portfolio Diversification: Diversifying investments across different asset classes (ISAs, pensions, investment bonds, and property) can mitigate the impact of changes to CGT, ensuring a balanced financial plan.

Planning Ahead

Given the likelihood of policy changes over the years, it’s crucial for investors to stay informed and consult with tax experts. This proactive approach can help mitigate risks and ensure that property investments remain profitable in the long run.

Conclusion

The new Labour government’s policies are set to impact the UK property investment industry in various ways. While there may be challenges, such as increased taxes and regulatory changes, there are also opportunities for growth and diversification. By staying informed and adapting strategies accordingly, property investors can navigate this evolving landscape and continue to achieve their investment goals.

If you’re looking to invest in UK property in 2024, get in touch to speak to one of our investment experts about your options, or explore all current developments here.

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