General Election – Where the Parties stand on Property
The 2015 general election will soon be upon us on the 7th May; the first time since 1974 that we have gone to the polls under a coalition government. Policies relating to the property market feature significantly in each party’s election manifesto, and herein lies a significant cause of uncertainty for those looking to buy, sell or invest.
In this article, we consider the key aspects from the main three parties and their approach to providing housing, helping first time buyers onto the property ladder, and any significant tax regimes they intend to bring in with regards to property.
“Buying a home shouldn’t be an impossible dream”
The Tories have not yet specified an annual building target, but instead have turned their attention to other targets. Continuing their attentions on first time buyers, their goal is to make 200,000 homes available to first time buyers under the age of 40 by 2020. This includes 100,000 starter homes on brownfield land to be sold 20% below market rate to first time buyers by waiving fees which would be received under Section 106 agreements. Rent-to-Buy enables tenants to rent a home at a discount to help save for a deposit, and the newly announced Help-to-Buy ISA will contribute a maximum of £3,000 when £12,000 is saved within the ISA over the course of four years. Perhaps an interesting savings plan to consider for children aged sixteen and over to maximise their savings potential for a future property. With the recent changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax regime, the Tories remain strictly against a Mansion Tax.
“Providing the opportunities for everybody that a home gives”
Setting an ambitious target of 300,000 new homes a year by 2020, the Liberal Democrats are looking at encouraging offsite construction, support for SMEs, self-build and boosting Housing Association capacity. A common theme amongst all three parties, the Lib Dems aim to support shared ownership and rent-to-buy, offering those who have been unable to save for a deposit a route to home ownership. Their annual tax on properties worth £2m proposed back in 2009 has developed into an additional banded levy on top of council tax to be collected by Local Authorities before pooling.
“Housing will be a top priority”
By helping small medium entities with a ‘Help to Build’ programme and underwriting bank loans for smaller builders; the Labour party’s annual target is to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020. There is perhaps no coincidence this is the same amount of housing that the Tories are aiming to sell to first-time buyers over the next five years. They have also pledged to double the number of first-time buyers by 2025, by giving first-time buyers priority access to housing within “Housing Growth Areas”, however there has been no mention of how they would plan to achieve this. Another party for the Mansion Tax, Labour expect to raise £1.2bn a year by taxing homes over £2m to help fund the NHS.