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Indians buying UK property may have to pay 3% more

Indians have been among top foreign buyers of property in London in recent years, with agents citing figures and growing interest from places such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

indians-abroad Updated: Nov 22, 2019 18:03 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
A Union Jack flag flutters in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain.
A Union Jack flag flutters in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain.(Photo: Reuters)

Indian and other foreign nationals buying property in the United Kingdom will have to pay a higher 3 per cent stamp duty under plans to be implemented if the Conservative party wins the December 12 election.

Indians have been among top foreign buyers of property in London in recent years, with agents citing figures and growing interest from places such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Rishi Sunak, chief secretary to the Treasury, said on Friday: “Today, if you are foreign company or someone living overseas, it is as easy to buy a property as it is for someone who is actually living here”.

“We don’t think that is right so we are saying we will have a 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on those foreign transactions. That should make housing more affordable especially for (UK resident) first-time buyers”, he said.

Foreigners buying property in large numbers is considered one of the reasons for high property prices, which makes it difficult for residents to get on the property ladder. A higher duty for foreign buyers is in line with similar measures in other international cities attracting such buyers.

Sunak, who is a Conservative candidate in Richmond, Yorkshire, added: “The Conservative Party is levelling up opportunities across the country, helping millions of people into home ownership”.

“Evidence shows that by adding significant amounts of demand to limited housing supply, purchases by non-residents inflate house prices. That is why we are introducing a higher rate of stamp duty for non-UK residents that will help to address this issue and could raise up to £120 million.”

The falling value of pound in recent months and years, combined with easier RBI norms on buying property abroad, has led to a rise in the number of Indians buying flats and other properties in London and other areas in the UK.