One of London’s highest profile and most outspoken estate agent chiefs has scolded ‘Maybot’ Theresa May on the day she is to address the Conservative Party conference.
Trevor Abrahmsohn of Glentree Estates - who has taken government to task in recent months over its housing policies - says the Conservatives’ plan to introduce a one to three per cent stamp duty surcharge on the price of any property bought by a non-UK tax paying foreigners is bound to hit the London market.
“Clearly, the Tory Party are so worried about the existing paltry housing stock, that they want to stop non-UK residents ‘pecking away’ at it. This demonstrates how poorly they understand why we have a broken housing market. It’s all about supply and not about demand” he says.
Abrahmsohn, whose agency sells high-end properties including those on The Bishops Avenue in north London, says a mix of environmentalists and local councillors already play a part in ensuring that the number of new homes built falls far below demand. On top of that, Green Belt policies are unnecessarily restrictive, he claims.
“‘Maybot’ has promised to build 300,000 new homes in the UK, however, we are probably building only about 125,000” he says.
“The fiscal changes to Non Dom residency, the existing hikes to stamp duty (even more so for foreigners) and the changes to corporate ownership of UK property, have all conspired together to reduce the demand for UK property from abroad, from a torrent to barely a trickle now” he adds.
Abrahmsohn also warns that developers are pulling out of London like rats leaving a shop and he cites Barratt Homes as one example.
“Particularly in the post Brexit era, we need to attract wealthy foreign investment to this country and not the reverse. … Historically France, Italy and Portugal have all been envious of the UK’s ability to attract these wealthy foreign nationals and are now climbing on to the band wagon by redesigning their own tax regimes, in order that their fiscal environment becomes more attractive” he warns.
Abrahmsohn has now called on Chancellor Phillip Hammond to cut Corporation Tax in this month’s Budget, and make Britain an oasis for multi-national companies.
“We understand if they need ‘brass plate’ offices in Frankfurt, Paris and Brussels in order to get around any regulatory hurdles that the EU may impose, but the head office should be in the UK benefiting from all the attractions that the ‘greatest city on earth’ – London – has to offer.”