Budget 2014: What can the property market expect?

Budget 2014: What can the property market expect?

The chancellor's annual Budget announcement is now just a week away, and with the annual date being one of the key moments in the year for the property sector, what can we expect and wish for this year?

Last year's Budget brought the Help to Buy scheme - a revolutionary flagship policy that really shook up the industry and saw swathes of buyers able to take a step onto the property ladder for the first time. 

Changes this year are expected to be less earth shattering, but if Londoners get their wishes, any announcement from Downing Street could be fantastic for the market moving forward. 

One of the hottest topics in the capital's property market at present is that of the foreign investor. London attracts more money from overseas than any other city in the UK, with Middle Eastern and Chinese buyers among those who look to get themselves a piece of the safe haven that is the capital. This incoming investment is likely to be central to the future growth of the London economy.

So will there be any mention of what is one of the most speculated issues in London? Almost half of residents in the city want to see overseas buyers subject to an additional tax, according to a survey carried out by investment manager Nutmeg for On the Money.

Other changes that could come into play from next week include a change to the stamp duty taxation of property buyers.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has been leading calls for a change to the levy, calling the current 'slab' system archaic and damaging to the market.

The organisation said the current bands system means that many homes that are valued as just above one of the thresholds - for example a property costing just over £1 million - struggle to find buyers because the stamp duty they need to pay jumps significantly. 

RICS said that a system in which regional differences are taken into account, as well as a sliding scale of charges, would help add fluidity, increase transaction numbers and bring stamp duty into the 21st century.

There also remains a potential for a new empty-homes tax to be actioned. It's no secret that a stock shortage has been behind the rapidly rising prices in recent years, so any incentive for owners to renovate and bring to market properties that have been out of action for a long time could only be a positive move. 

While it is widely thought that tweaks rather than wide scale changes will be the theme for the property market in this year's Budget announcement, it's clear that if we get what many desire, 2014 could prove to be a fantastic year for growth in the sector.