Conservatives plan stamp duty rise for foreign nationals

Foreigners will have to pay 3% more than British nationals when they buy property, should the Conservatives win the general election.

The party claims it is an attempt to make life easier for those looking to get on the housing ladder, lowering prices by discouraging foreign investment from overseas companies.

Meanwhile, Labour wants to place a levy on “overseas companies buying housing.” The party says it wants to give “first dibs” on new properties to local people already living in the area.

At the moment, there is no difference between the prices British and foreign nationals pay for property in the UK. However, the government was already planning a rise of 1%.

London could be especially impacted by the proposed increase, because much of the foreign investment takes place in the capital. The Conservatives say 13% of all properties sold in London were to overseas buyers between 2014 and 2016. The King’s College Business School published a study last year that found this investment pushed prices up, even in cities other than London.

However, a study commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan found the figure of 1% was not high enough; it is likely the 3% figure will be met with the same reaction. The study compared it with other cities where foreign buying is prevalent, like Singapore and Vancouver, which have a 20% levy.

The parties have also been proposing extra house-building to make housing more affordable. Labour promises the biggest house-building programme since the sixties, the Conservatives promise a million homes over the next five years, and the Liberal Democrats want 300,000 new properties per year, and to give powers to councils to increase council tax to 500% when homes are empty long-term.

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