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Quarter of Guildford houses bought as second homes or buy-to-lets

Quarter of Guildford houses bought as second homes or buy-to-lets

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Isabelle Kirk at 10:51am 8th October 2018.

One in four houses bought last year in Guildford were purchased as second homes or properties to rent out.

According to HMRC data, second home buyers - including property investors and landlords buying houses to rent out - were undeterred by new taxes on extra properties.

In Guildford around 550 second homes were bought in the financial year 2017-18, with a combined value of £286 million.

Lawrence Bowles, research analyst at estate agent Savills, said that first-time buyers are still at a "fundamental disadvantage", despite the new tax.

He said: "First time buyers will typically be buying with a mortgage, and buy-to-let landlords will often have the money in their account, ready to go.

"Sellers prefer that over mortgages because of the certainty - there's always a risk associated with a mortgage."

A second home is defined by HMRC as a property that is bought by buyers who already have primary residences.

Second Homes

The number bought last year in Guildford has increased by 22% since 2016-17, when around 450 second homes were purchased.

That's despite an extra 3% stamp duty charge on additional properties, introduced in April 2016 as part of a government effort to deter buy-to-let landlords, property investors and second home owners.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said it was concerned about the impact that buying extra properties has on local communities.

Policy leader Will Jeffwitz said: "In any community, if more homes are bought up as second homes then there are fewer available for residents - and the houses left are more unaffordable."

He added: "If families and young people are priced out of their local communities it can have a hugely demanding impact on community life - with village shops, schools and pubs closing in alarming numbers as a result."

The NHF praised the Government for reducing stamp duty for first time buyers, but urged that more investment was needed in social housing.

A Treasury spokesperson said: "We want to support the dream of home ownership for the next generation.

"Higher rates of stamp duty on second homes means we can afford to offer more support to first time buyers through the stamp duty relief."

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