Four things that will affect landlords in 2014

Being a good landlord is never easy. One of the numerous demands that comes with the job is keeping up with the latest changes in the property market and from HMRC. Here’s a list of things likely to affect landlords 2014:

Interest Rates

When you’re a landlord juggling several properties, interest rates is one of the key factors to watch. Having been low (0.5 percent above base rate) for the last five years, it’s been a pretty cushy time for borrowers, which has left landlords in a good position.

The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, had indicated that interest rates will increase when unemployment hits seven percent – however, he’s recently backtracked as the shoots of recovery started to show, saying the Bank won’t necessarily raise them if employment does improve.

The thing is with interest rates and landlords, is that the slightest raise can throw things off kilter – particularly if a large amount has been borrowed. And the problem is that it can also dampen growth in the housing market to boot. This can leave landlords in a tricky position – but the good news is we believe a rise this year is unlikely.

New rules about Capital Gains Tax

Hidden in the Autumn Statement was the announcement that the tax relief period for the sale of extra properties will be halved. Previously the sale of property was exempt from CGT if it was a person’s main home for a period up to three years. However, this period has now been halved and is 18 months. This was largely to stop the practice of “flipping” between homes to avoid the levy – a strategy adopted so expertly by our politicians back in 2009. Problems could arise though for those in the middle of a difficult divorce, or those who cannot sell their homes quickly. The Treasury claims the change will increase CGT paid 2015 (the year the change is to be introduced) by £65 million.

Construction

The UK capital saw a massive amount of construction and development during 2013. And more houses are exactly what the capital needs as people come to London. With the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, aiming to build hundreds of thousands of new homes in the coming years; prices could fall as supply starts to meet demand. This could affect landlords in terms of house prices, but they could also increase their stock as prices fall.

Commercial Property

If you mainly invest in residential property, why not think about snapping up a commercial property? Predicted to return double digit returns for investors this year thanks to a lag in building projects during the recession; it’s an area that private investors shouldn’t overlook.

Thanks to Robert Holmes, an estate agents in Wimbledon for this guest blog.

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