Property industry celebrates George Osborne’s unexpected U-turn

Chancellor George Osborne today reduced stamp duty for investors in homes for rent in a bid to boost the construction of rented property.

In a significant U-turn from last September, when the Treasury appeared to effectively rule out the move, Osborne said today that property investors will be charged stamp duty on a per house basis, rather than the total cost of the investment.

This means the investors in homes may be able to escape paying stamp duty entirely on purchases if the individual homes are under the stamp duty threshold. The property industry has been calling for the move for years in order to help engender interest in housing from institutional investors, generating money for development.

A spokesman for the British Property Federation said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. Last September the government seemed to rule this out. There’s no doubt the Stamp duty Land Tax regime presented a significant barrier to institutions. Alongside the reform of the planning system, this has given institutions an excellent chance to invest in housing.”

Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley welcomed the news. He said: “We’ve campaigned to abolish stamp duty for investors on the basis the investor holds on to the property for 10 years. But this is a welcome step in the right direction.