Latest Property News

Latest Property News

Whilst watching a property relocation programme recently, I got the distinct impression that the buyers were either ill prepared or had not considered what kind of property they wanted. They were certainly unaware what type of properties were available within their budget.  The dream list included a garden with enough space for a veggie patch, chicken coop, area for large trampoline, herb and pet enclosure and the property criteria was just as demanding. Fine if you have the right funds but sadly this was not the case here. The buyer’s disappointment on screen, as reality dawned, was palpable! The problem was, in my opinion and is often the case, the buyers did not understand the market nor the reality of what they could get for their buck. In this case the search was within some rural southern English idyll. Don’t get me wrong, even though I’m an estate agent, I have been in a similar position, the fantasy vortex where the heart takes over.


As buyers, we do have to differentiate between rightfully expecting a lot for our hard earned cash and the reality of market conditions. Even in the economic crash it seems property prices were, at worst, little effected and in some areas continued to head upwards. The usual story of supply and demand. It pays to do a bit of homework and understand your must haves, such as the number of bedrooms, over the nice to haves in a property. There may not be room for a chicken or two when it comes down to the hard maths.


It’s a good idea to sit down with your partner and the family or whoever will be sharing the property and discuss the reality and expectations. Use the internet to see what is on the market in your price range. Ask family members for their opinions so when you do approach an estate agent your list may be long and plentiful but you will know what is acceptable and affordable. Prospects now in harmony, it’s then time for the specific property search. You can be very clear about what it is you want to view. This will save you time and a lot of needless bother from the estate agent. As long as the agent is listening of course!


Clear communication with your Estate Agent is vital.  Homework done, you can tell them exactly what you desire and where you are or are not willing to comprise.  If you say that you want a detached property and the agent keeps sending you information on semi-detached houses then maybe there is a communication problem or worse, the agent is just lazy.  This relationship is extremely important, particularly as you may be trusting that agent to find your future home, often within a certain time period and at a great price.

When the higher rates apply
Individuals and companies need to pay the higher rates when they buy an additional residential property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The higher rates apply even if your other residential properties are outside any of these countries.

You’ll also need to pay the higher rates if you don’t own a residential property and buy at least 2 residential properties at the same time.

Rates on additional properties

Purchase price Rate
up to £125,000                      3%
over £125,000 to £250,000     5%
over £250,000 to £925,000     8%
over £925,000 to £1.5 million  13%
over £1.5 million                    15%

You’ll need to pay the higher rates on everything you give for the purchase, this is called the ‘consideration’.

If you replace your main home
You won’t have to pay the higher rates if you sell your main home on the same day you buy your new home.

If you sell your main home after you purchase your new home you’ll need to pay the higher rate. You can claim a refund of the higher rates if your old home is sold within 3 years of buying your new home.

You can claim a refund by changing the original return or completing a SDLT repayment request form. This must be claimed within 3 months of the sale or 1 year of the filing date of the return, whichever comes later.

Purchases that aren’t charged the higher rates
You won’t have to pay the higher rates on a new property if the chargeable consideration is less than £40,000.

You also won’t have to pay the higher rates if:

someone else holds a lease on the property with more than 21 years to run
you purchase a lease that has less than 7 years to run
You won’t be charged the higher rates if your other residential properties meet either of the 2 criteria above or each have a value of less than £40,000 when you buy the new property.

The higher rates don’t apply to:

mobile homes, caravans or house boats
purpose built student accommodation
Multiple properties in the same building or grounds
Two or more properties bought together may be treated as one if:

they’re in the same building or grounds
the main property accounts for two-thirds of the total consideration
Ownership of the property
Spouses and civil partners
You may be viewed as the owner of a property if it’s owned by your spouse or civil partner.

This means if one of you already owns a property and the other person purchases another property, the purchase will be charged at the higher rates.

Spouses or civil partners that are permanently separated won’t be treated in this way.

You’ll be treated as owning a property if you receive all the income from it and the proceeds from its sale even if you’re not the legal owner.

The beneficiary of a bare trust will be treated as the purchaser of a property.

The beneficiary will also be treated as the purchaser if the trust holds property and the beneficiary is entitled to:

occupy the property for life
receive income from the property
When the beneficiary is under 18, the child’s parents are treated as the beneficiary.

The trustee will treated as the purchaser of the property if the trust:

isn’t a bare trust
doesn’t give the beneficiary a right to occupy a property for life or receive income from it
purchases a property for over £40,000 that isn’t subject to a lease of more than 21 years
Companies and partnerships
Companies have to pay the higher rates when they buy any residential properties that are over £40,000 and aren’t subject to a lease of more than 21 years.

You’ll have to pay the higher rates if your partnership already owns a residential property and you purchase another residential property for your partnership.

You won’t have to pay the higher rates if you buy a property for yourself and your only additional properties are used for your partnership’s trade.

Where a trustee buys a property but a beneficiary doesn’t receive any benefits from that property, the purchase is treated as if it were made by a company rather than an individual.

Inherited properties
If you inherit half or less of the major interest in a property in the 3 years before you make a purchase, and you don’t already have an additional residential property, you won’t pay the higher rates on that purchase.