Friday, 5 February 2016

The endless riddles of Home-Owner-ist logic...

From The Telegraph, two days ago:

Landlords will sell 500,000 properties in the next 12 months, according to new research from buy-to-let investor trade body the National Landlords Association (NLA)...

The sudden pessimism follows George Osborne’s double-whammy tax attack on the sector. In his July Budget he announced the removal of landlords' mortgage interest tax relief which, when fully implemented in 2020-21, will mean some landlords pay tax on zero income or even on losses. And in November he announced that landlords would pay a 3pc stamp duty surcharge, coming in from this April...

Many also predict that rents will rise as landlords seek to pass on the costs.

Fair enough, that was the whole point (allegedly) - to try and get owner-occupation levels going up again which of necessity means landlords leaving the market i.e. selling (as we saw between 1945 and the 1980s). Of course rents won't rise one penny, firstly landlords can't pass on costs, and secondly if there really were a sell-off of any magnitude, it would be higher earning tenants who buy them and become owner-ocupiers, pushing down the average incomes of remaining tenants and hence average rents.

So how bad is that sudden pessimism..?

From The Telegraph, today:

House price growth has hit a 17 month-high, as the supply of new properties being put up for sale tightens. UK house prices rose 9.7pc in the year to January, up from 9.5pc a month earlier, according to the Halifax. This is the biggest jump since in July 2014, when prices rose by more than 10pc...

Some experts believe the housing market is being lifted in the short term by buy-to-let investors looking to make a purchase before the sector is hit with a rise in stamp duty in April.

Not that terrible then, if they are still piling in, eh?

Or do the Homeys genuinely believe that landlords who are piling in now will sell them off again after 6 April 2016? Why would they do that?


mombers said...

It's too funny watching the squealing. Will be interesting to see what happens in the judicial review. The judges should throw it out with one acronym: VAT. The argument that loss making businesses don't pay tax is nonsense. And of course they can point to individuals not being allowed to write off margin debt on speculating on shares.

Steven_L said...

The judge won't have to justify the tax for HMT to win. Parliament can pass pretty much whatever laws (and taxes) it wants. It's obviously absurd to argue taxes infringe human rights by discriminating between limited companies and sole traders.

They will have been advised as much by Mrs Booth QC too. It smacks of a publicity stunt by people with very big egos.

Bayard said...

"the removal of landlords' mortgage interest tax relief which, when fully implemented in 2020-21, will mean some landlords pay tax on zero income or even on losses"

Yes, but they are not businesses are they? They don't pay business rates on their properties and they don't pay to have the rubbish taken away.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, good point about plenty of loan interest not being allowable. Loan interest is usually a very restricted expense for tax purposes and only allowable where the law says so. There is no general rule that it is allowable.

As to Cherie Blair's bullshit, I refer you to SL's answer.

B, they should be made to decide what they actually are:
a) self-employed/businesses, paying full income tax, NIC, VAT and business rates but getting loan interest relief, or
b) they are investors, who pay no NIC or VAT but get no loan interest relief. Fair's fair.