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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Living For The Future

The last 18 months could have been a disaster for the living sector (senior housing, student housing and build to rent). With the pandemic having caused construction site closures, supply chain issues, price increases of materials, economic nervousness and, more recently, labour shortages, the outlook at times has looked pretty bleak for the sector.

However, over the past 12 months the living sector has performed well. Government interventions obviously helped, but the market has proved resilient in the face of adversity, paving the way for a resurgence in buyer confidence and corporate investment. But what now? Will the market continue to perform or are there pitfalls of which to be wary? In the commentary below, Catherine Williams, head of living sector at national law firm Shoosmiths, looks at some of the trends in the housing market and the factors which may influence future change.    
SDLT is here to stay
“Putting aside the debatable benefits of SDLT and the argument that abolition would result in a more free-flowing market, it is difficult to say that the SDLT holiday didn’t mobilise buyers and sellers and provide the sector with a welcome economic boost (an additional 140,000 transactions were estimated to have been generated by the holiday alone, with the average additional expenditure on each as high as £16,000, resulting in £1.8-2.7bn for the wider economy.

“Whilst an increase in house prices has been a partial consequence, the ‘experiment’ has arguably strengthened the case to scrap the tax for good, with socio-economic benefits of downsizing, social mobility, wellbeing and levelling-up a conspicuous side effect. That said, any change would likely need to be tackled as part of a much broader tax reform exercise and, with SDLT bringing £12bn into the Treasury each year, it’s fair to say that SDLT reform in the short term at least looks unlikely.”

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