本文由Evening Standard特约撰稿人 Anna White女士撰写
面对疫情冲击，英国财相颁布一系列力度空前的经济刺激措施，其中雇员停薪假期计划与30亿英镑救市拨款成效显著。 上周财相里希·苏纳克（Rishi Sunak）颁布外出就餐新政：八月周一至周三外出就餐可享半价优惠，酒店与旅游业增值税由20%降至5%。
在颁布的一些列强势经济刺激措施中，最令人瞩目的莫过于财相于今年七月迷你预算演讲时推出的印花税假期政策（Stamp Duty Holiday），该政策将印花税起征点提高至50万英镑，政策有效期自颁布之日起至二〇二一年三月三十一日止。 1 印花税的历史 一直以来，印花土地税（SDLT）在房地产行业是一个饱受争议的话题。
二〇一四年十二月，时任财相乔治·奥斯本（George Osborne）为抑制过热的房地产市场而全面修订印花税政策。 奥斯本将原有固定税率的印花税改革成为与房屋成交价绑定的阶梯式税率。 根据原有印花税规定，当成交价格高于起征点时买家需要缴纳大量印花税。 奥斯本表示，在阶梯式税率颁布后，有98%的英格兰买家将因此受益，缴纳低额印花税。二〇一七年，他进一步将印花税起征点提高至30万英镑，这意味着房屋成交价在30万英镑以下的买家将无需缴纳印花税。 然而新政的颁布对伦敦房市来讲并非善事。伦敦房屋平均成交价是全英平均成交价的两倍。奥斯本颁布的印花税改革措施遏制了高端房产交易与家庭住宅市场的发展。
成交价在93.7万英镑以下的房产印花税有所下降，而高于此成交价的房产印花税则由原来的7%上升至12%。 英格兰地区首套房购房者的平均成交价格为£239,724，低于30万镑印花税起征点。然而这一数据在伦敦地区却高£446,839。 许多地产行业评论员认为全面改革后的印花税制度不仅遏制了家庭住宅市场的发展，其对地产行业产生的影响更大于脱欧所带来的不确定性影响。 大量买家因此决定停止交易使得市场交易量大幅下跌。 一宗房产交易所产生的经济影响遍布各个行业：房产经纪、房产评估师、律师、家装供应商和搬家公司等。房产交易和市场需求也推动了建筑公司打造更多新建物业。
印花税的税率改革使一部分买家陷入僵局：由大房换小房的买家不得不停止交易，家庭刚需住房升级市场的交易量也受到很大限制。 《福布斯》（Forbes）杂志上的一篇文章这样写道：“高额印花税引发的主要问题是极大地限制了家庭流动性。随着印花税率的提高，越来越多的家庭购房者由于购房成本的被动增加而选择暂缓或停止换房升级计划。市场上的房产交易数量因此直线下降，从而导致市场陷入半僵局状态。” 2 苏纳克印花税改革影响深远 直观来看，苏纳克2020印花税改革直接影响的是首套房购房者，新政为大部分买家免除了印花税。
对于预算在50万英镑左右的买家来讲，此次改革可节省1.5万英镑。 同时，1.5万英镑的折扣也将适用于各个房价阶梯使得全部买家因此获益。 尽管此次改革对于首套房购房者产生的意义要远大于200万英镑以上大额标的交易，但却使得大房换小房买家的流动性增加，家庭住房升级买家的交易量也因此得以持续增加。 毋庸置疑，此次改革为房地场市场注入了新动力。 让我们来看一组数据： 伦敦地区首套房购房者平均成交价：£446,839。 英格兰地区首套房购房者平均成交价：£239,724。 伦敦地区平均房屋成交价：£685,721。 英格兰地区平均房屋成交价：£360,810。 七月印花税新政颁布后： 伦敦地区首套房印花税平均值原为£7,342，现为£0。 英格兰地区首套房印花税与之前保持一致：£0。 伦敦地区平均房产印花税原为£24,286，现为£9,286。 英格兰地区平均房产印花税原为£8,041，现为£0。 3 新政对以租养房的影响 苏纳克印花税新政被指责大幅刺激房产投资市场。一些批评人士指出：印花税假期的颁布会促使房产投资者与刚需自住买家竞争小户型单元，一定程度上推高房价走势。 另外一些人认为新政对住宅房产投资者的支持是具有深远影响的。
受到之前财政政策的影响，房产投资者在过去的房产市场中倍受打击：房东需要多缴纳3%的印花税，且不能享受贷款利率的减免优惠。因此个人投资者的数量在此前几年大幅下降。现在这一现象有所改观。 尽管投资者和二套房买家仍需缴纳额外3%印花税，但是由于印花税起征点提高至50万英镑，这一部分对应的印花税金额也将随之减少。 举例，如果投资者购买50万英镑房产，所需缴纳印花税将从原有的3万英镑下降至1.5万英镑。 印花税新政的颁布标志着房地产市场政策走向有所变化。此前，政策重点在首套房买家和房屋产权上，而现在政策更着重于支持综合房产交易而忽略买家属性。 值得注意的是，此次印花税假期并非向房产投资者倾斜而是面向所有买家。 4 房市小高峰 房产经纪和各开发商均表示伦敦解封后各路买家购房需求集中释放，房市因此迎来小高峰。 印花税假期所带来的房市繁荣将持续到今年秋季。届时员工停薪假期计划结束，疫情对经济的影响或趋明朗。 伦敦是印花税假期收益最大的地区，外伦敦各行政区有显著积极影响。 为最大化印花税假期红利，各路买家目前正积极搜索50万英镑以下的大型带花园房产。 英国开发商Galliard Homes位于雷顿（Leyton）的项目目前咨询量激增。雷顿位于东伦敦的沃尔瑟姆森林行政区 （Waltham Forest），Galliard Homes在此开发的楼盘名为：Church Road。 雷顿目前正经历城市升级改造计划，投资额高达1800万英镑的雷顿地铁站升级工程将于明年夏天完工。 Church Road项目包含38套一/二/三居室公寓，每套公寓均配备室外阳台或露台。项目内包含自行车库和业主私享景观花园。 项目另打造两套三居室联排别墅。目前公寓已全部完工，起售价为£450,000。 对于想要在巴勒姆（Balham）、旺茲沃思（Wandsworth）、帕特尼（Putney）和伯爵菲尔德（Earlsfield）等区域寻找50万英镑以下房产的买家来讲，位于温布尔顿（Wimbeldon）的Stadia Three是绝佳选择。 Stadia Three项目包含600套新建公寓和一座AFC Wimbledon俱乐部足球场。一期项目将提供114套一/二/三居室公寓。 项目内配套酒店、零售商业、壁球场和健身中心。项目内专门打造业主专用自行车道。目前起售价为£425,000。由项目步行至伯爵菲尔德火车站不到20分钟，搭乘火车3分钟即达克拉珀姆交口站（Clapham Junction）。 位于伯明翰市中心的Timber Yard项目同样受到自住买家和投资者的热烈追捧。 项目包含两栋住宅楼，共提供369套住宅单元，打造健身房、礼宾前台、业主休息室和电影院等内部配套设施。 由项目步行至伯明翰新街火车站（Birmingham New Street）仅需8分钟，伯明翰新街火车站将与英国HS2线高铁伯明翰卡尔姿街站（Birmingham Curzon Street）相连。目前起售价：£202,500。
STAMP DUTY SPARKS A SUMMER SHOPPING SPREE By Anna White
UK Government is throwing money at the COVID-19 pandemic. Unprecedented levels of intervention and stimulus are in play, from the Chancellor’s furlough scheme to his £30bn package to create and protect jobs. Only last week Rishi Sunak announced a 50 per cent discount for diners eating Monday to Wednesday in August and VAT has been slashed from 20 per cent to five for hospitality and tourism businesses. However, the most attention-grabbing policy in the July emergency mini Budget was the stamp duty holiday on all property purchases up to £500,000, with immediate effect and lasting until March 2021. THE STAMP DUTY STORY Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a contentious topic in the property world. In December 2014 the then-Chancellor George Osborne overhauled stamp duty in a bid to put the brakes on an overheating market. He switched it from a slab structure where stamp duty was applied by price banding to a new progressive system. In its former iteration there were huge jumps in tax bill when a buyer crossed the stamp duty threshold, distorting valuations.
he progressive system meant that 98 per cent of people in England would pay less stamp duty, according to Osborne, and from 2017 the tax was abolished permanently for first-time buyers on homes up to £300,000. But it was badly gauged for London where homes are twice as expensive as the national average.
Osborne’s stamp duty reform stifled luxury transactions and the family homes market. Under £937,000 stamp duty fell but above that threshold it leapt from seven per cent to 12 per cent. The average first-time buyer were spending £239,724 on their first home in England, below the old £300,000 stamp duty exemption threshold, whereas the average first-time buyer in London was spending £446,839. Many industry commentators believe the overhaul of the stamp duty system, cranking it up on family-sized homes in London, had a greater impact than the uncertainty of Brexit on the property market.
Many people decided to stay put rather than find that extra money and as a result transaction levels plummeted. The sale of one home has an economic trigger effect benefiting estate agents, valuers, solicitors, decorators, renovators and removal firms. Property transactions and demand also drive the construction industry to build more new homes. The stamp duty hike caused a gridlock in the middle of the property ladder: it put downsizers off moving, tying up family homes needed by the second steppers looking to upsize from their first flats.
A Forbes magazine article put it like this: “one of the major problems with these changes, and indeed, with high stamp duty in general, is that it massively hampers household mobility. The higher the rate, the more people the government prevents from moving house due to its cost. Buying and selling activity declines, the market goes into a semi-state of gridlock.” SUNAK’S REFORM RELEVANT ON EVERY RUNG At first glance Sunak’s 2020 reform of the stamp duty system appears to target first-time buyers, abolishing stamp duty on the vast majority of their purchases. For those buying a home at around the £500,000 mark it translates into a saving of £15,000. But, that £15,000 discount will apply at every price point, all the way up the property ladder.
Although it may mean more to the first-time buyer than it does to a long-time professional buying a £2m apartment, it may well make a difference to a downsizer finally selling up and moving on, or the family who want to buy that downsizer’s house. It oils the wheels of what was a rusty property market. Here are the numbers: - The average first time buyer in London pays £446,839 on their first home. The average first time buyer in England pays £239,724. The average home mover in London pays £685,721. The average home mover in England pays £360,810. July’s stamp duty changes mean: - The average first time buyer in London was paying £7,342 in stamp duty on their first home. This will reduce down to £0. The average first time buyer in England was and is still paying £0 stamp duty. The average home mover in London was paying £24,286, this will be reduced to £9,286. The average home mover in England was paying £8,041, this will be reduced to £0.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUY-TO-LET
One of the criticisms leveled at Sunak’s stamp duty holiday is that it plays to the investor. Cynics believe landlords will pile in competing with first-time buyers for one- and two-bedroom units, driving up house prices. Others argue that some support for residential property investors is a long-time coming. The investor-landlord has been battered by fiscal policy over the last housing market cycle. They pay a three per cent stamp duty surcharge and interest rate relief on landlord mortgages has been scrapped. As a result, the private investor dropped off in a big way. Until now. Although property investors and second homeowners must continue to pay the three per cent surcharge on purchases, they will pay no further duty on the first £500,000 of the property’s value. For an investor buying a £500,000 property, this would halve the rate of duty payable from £30,000 to £15,000. This move marks a reverse in housing policy. The previous focus on first-time buyers and home ownership has been set aside and the priority now appears to be supporting transactions, irrespective of who is buying. This stamp duty holiday does not give the landlord preferential treatment but it is inclusive of them.
POWERING A MICRO BOOM
Estate agents and developers were already reporting a micro boom following the lockdown - when people reassessed their property needs. The stamp duty holiday should lengthen this boom into the autumn when the furlough scheme will end and the damage done to the economy will start to become clearer. The greatest gains of the stamp duty holiday are in London and the biggest impact in the outer boroughs. Buyers are busy searching for the biggest homes and gardens they can get for under £500,000 in order to avoid stamp duty altogether. Galliard is seeing heightened demand for its scheme in Leyton. The trendy town, in the easterly borough of Waltham Forest, is home to Galliard’s Church Road redevelopment. The town itself is undergoing regeneration with an £18m overhaul of Leyton tube station due next summer. Church Road comprises 38 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments all with a balcony or terrace, set around a landscaped courtyard with secure cycle storage. Church Road There are two luxury three-bedroom townhouses for sale too. Prices for the apartments start from £450,000 and they are ready to move into. Stadia Three in Wimbledon is attracting buyers from Balham, Wandsworth, Putney and Earlsfield who are all searching for homes under £500,000. The entire scheme will comprise 600 new homes as part of a reimagined football stadium for AFC Wimbledon. The Stadia Three phase one comprises 114 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments over seven storeys. Residents will have access to a hospitality suite, shops, squash courts and a fitness centre. There is a dedicated cycle route leading to the development and prices start from £425,000.
Earlsfield train station is less than a 20-minute walk away and the train takes three minutes into Clapham Junction. The Timber Yard in Birmingham’s Southside district is equally popular with both first-time buyers and investors. The 369-home scheme across two buildings has a gym, concierge desk, residents’ lounge and cinema room. It is only an eight-minute stroll to Birmingham New Street station which will connect to High Speed Rail 2 at the nearby Birmingham Curzon Street station.Prices start from £202,500.