Areas of expertise: Legal matters relating to estates, farms, country houses, succession and estate planning, development agreements.
“I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation with a client saying that they will hold off because of Brexit,” says Henry Cecil of Bircham Dyson Bell. “When it comes to the country market, our conversations tend to focus on Stamp Duty and inheritance tax. The matter of if and how EU farming subsidies will be replaced makes the referendum result an indirect factor. As with everything, though, where there are threats there are also opportunities”.
“What is really important now is to be aware that the difference between SDLT on purely residential use and mixed use country property can run to hundreds of thousands of pounds. This is changing the nature of search commissions for Middleton, and naturally, rural property that has the potential for some non-residential use is much sought-after.”
“The chancellor has committed to maintain the EU’s Basic Payment Scheme until 2020, but longer term, if you are interested in a country estate or farming land, you will need to carefully consider diversification such as renewable energy, tourism, farm shops. And with the pressure to build hundreds of thousands of homes, people are securing planning permission for development projects that would never have got off the drawing-board a few years ago.”
“With borrowing so cheap at the moment, it’s relatively easy for landowners and farmers to look at diversification schemes, but time may be running out on that a little, because banks are starting to anticipate base rate rises and increase the cost of loans. But there are also Inheritance Tax benefits to consider, and these are likely to remain.”
Bircham Dyson Bell’s view:
- In the country market SDLT is a much more significant factor than Brexit
- Purchasing mixed use land, rather than purely residential, can significantly reduce stamp duty
- End of EU farming subsidies in 2020 means landowners may need to look closely at diversification schemes
- Planning regime is far more friendly to housing development on rural land than it has ever been
The professional view.
A critical aspect of what Middleton Advisors offers is the ability to draw on different strands of expertise from across the full spectrum of property and professional services. The Middleton ‘professional view’ blog offers topical comment from experts and professionals to provide insights into the current market for prime property in London and the UK countryside – what is driving activity and prospects, trends, legislative changes, opportunities and threats.