Holyrood commits to exemption for large scale investors from LBTT surcharge

David Melhuish
David Melhuish

The Scottish Government is to exempt transactions of six or more homes from the additional LBTT surcharge.

Published by the Scottish Parliament last month, the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill proposed a supplement of three per cent of the total price of the property for all relevant transactions above £40,000, and will be paid in addition to the current LBTT rates.

However, written and oral evidence to Holyrood’s finance committee from the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) advocated an exemption for larger scale transactions in order to support PRS investors, SME housebuilders, and property entrepreneurs.

The committee recommended the exemption, which was accepted by the Scottish Government during a Holyrood debate on the bill.

Welcoming the decision, David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “We believe that there should be an exemption set for larger scale transactions of six or more properties, and we are pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to our concerns and brought in the exemption.

“Significant large scale investment by institutional funds has the potential to really help to boost housing supply in Scotland, and this move will particularly help the emerging build to rent sector. Without these recommendations, SME house-builders who were devastated by the financial crash, would have been severely constrained in attracting finance and investment to take forward future development projects.”

The committee also called for a grace period to allow time for a previous property to be sold and additional reliefs for registered social landlords, local authorities and student accommodation.

Mr Swinney said the aim of the bill was to maximise the opportunities for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder in Scotland.

He told MSPs: “I certainly recognise the need to balance support for home ownership and first-time buyers without discouraging significant and beneficial investment in residential property for rent.

“I hope that the specific relief that I have set out in relation to the bulk purchase of properties gives some further clarity to the market place and can enable commitments to be made with the assurance I have given.”

The finance secretary said the issue of additional reliefs would be kept under review as more data was collected on the impact of the supplement, which will be paid on top of Scotland’s stamp duty replacement.

He said he was not convinced about the need for a grace period but remained open to considering it in the future.

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