The government shouldn’t discourage foreign nationals from buying

Paresh Raja

October 31, 2018

Paresh Raja (pictured), chief executive of of Market Financial Solutions, responds to yesterday’s Autumn Budget, which saw the proposal of a 1% stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers.

The real estate sector is huge contributor to UK GDP, and as the country is one of the world’s most desirable locations for property investment, the government should be careful not to discourage foreign nationals buying bricks and mortar in Britain.

Taken at face value, the stamp duty surcharge might seem like a good means of protecting the interests of UK homebuyers, but in reality this won’t have the desired outcome many are hoping to see. Foreign investors are not having a meaningful impact on the housing crisis; this comes down to a long-term issue that not enough new homes have been built.

The Chancellor again stressed that funding was being allocated to help the construction of more homes, but unfortunately the government has a track record of missing new build targets.

One reason for this is that housing ministers are appointed and replaced at far too great a frequency. Since the Spring Statement we’ve seen a new MP enter the role, but how long will Kit Malthouse last?

The government must ensure there is strong, consistent policy in the property industry and that policy must encourage investment into the market, not deter it.

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