Analysis of government data suggests there are 3,990 properties valued over £500,000 which are owner-occupied but purchased by so-called ‘corporate wrappers’ - in other words, by companies rather than named individuals.
London Central Portfolio, an investment firm which has undertaken the analysis, says since 2012 the government has discouraged owner occupiers buying via companies - more formally known as Non-Natural Persons or NNPs - and has instead urged them to buy in their own names.
To disincentivise such corporate purchases and the government introduced hefty tax charges on properties worth over £2m, including a 15 per cent slab-style stamp duty and and the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings .
Now LCP says it believes 3,990 owner-occupied properties have corporate wrapper titles. Another 3,040 properties bought by NNPs for commercial purposes - for example, letting or development - do not pay the tax but have been notified to HMRC.
Some 89 per cent of ATED tax receipts came from London and another 10 per cent came from the south east. The rest came from across the rest of the UK.
LCP says that measures such as reducing mortgage interest tax relief for individual buy to let landlords and the imminent three per cent stamp duty surcharge on additional properties is likely to increase the acquisition of properties through corporate structures in the private rented sector.