Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

A country life - relocating to the countryside

05/07/21A country life - relocating to the countryside

For many people, the convenience of living in a city has been revealed to be a double-edged sword. If you take away the shops, the recreation and leisure, can work from home, and have to exercise from your doorstep, what exactly is the appeal of convenient city living? People have looked at their surroundings, their living quarters and outside garden areas, and many have decided that perhaps now it’s time for a move to the countryside. The clean air, quiet and different pace of life are a world away from city living. And with the stamp duty holiday now on and working from home being encouraged for the foreseeable future, there’s no better time than the present to make your move.  

Local knowledge

Forge Property Consultants is involved in the management and sales of both urban and rural property. But through our wealth of experience in the sector, we find rural properties can be extremely interesting propositions. They tend to be older, sometime more characterful, with opportunities for adaptation, restoration or modernisation. Location matters and aspects such as the proximity of schools and services are also key to decision-making when it comes to selecting a property. Using our local knowledge, we are able to identify good buys and properties of interest, that will be attractive to potential purchasers.

Stamp Duty holiday

We have recently sold two appealing country homes that are indicative of what’s available in terms of space and value. Both are well-located, set in their own grounds, with quality schools in the locality. Crucially, both buyers have benefitted from the ‘stamp duty holiday’ currently in place in England. In England and Northern Ireland, if you buy property or land over a certain price, you must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). It’s different in other parts of the UK – in Scotland, you pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, while in Wales you pay Land Transaction Tax (which replaced stamp duty after 1 April 2018). Reasons to pay stamp duty include buying a freehold property, buying a new or existing leasehold, or buying a property through a shared ownership scheme. You are also eligible if you are transferred land or property in exchange for payment – if you take on a mortgage, for example, or buy a part-share in a house or flat.

A saving worth making

Thanks to the UK Chancellor’s present stamp duty holiday, the threshold where SDLT starts to apply in England is currently £500,000, but this changes as of 1 July 2021. The threshold for non-residential land and properties is £150,000. If you buy a property or land for less than the threshold, there is of course no stamp duty to pay. However, in England and Northern Ireland this threshold is relatively fluid over the next few months. For property purchases from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021, the stamp duty threshold will be £250,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties. On 1 October 2021, the thresholds will change to £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties, which returns the rates to the same level as before 8 July 2020. Properties that fall above the threshold bracket will only pay SDLT on the excess amount.

As many of our property and estate management clients straddle the England-Wales border, we also have to be familiar with the Welsh Government’s equivalent. In simple terms, when you buy a residential property (freehold or leasehold) up to the value of £250,000 in Wales, you’ll be Land Transaction Tax exempt. Between £250,000 and £400,000 the LTT rate is 5%. Again this is only valid until 30 June 2021. This stamp duty holiday has been appreciated by agents, buyers and sellers alike, to stimulate the market and ensure it has remained buoyant through testing economic times.

In England, for example, if a property is being purchased for £500,000 or more, the stamp duty holiday could save buyers up to £15,000. Our two recent buyers have benefitted from the changes due to the stamp duty holiday. One was a £775,000, seven-bedroomed country house in Ashbourne in Derbyshire, while the other was Garden Cottage in Oswestry, a three-bedroomed period cottage, which sold for £350,000. The proximity of schools, rail and road links, and their idyllic country settings made the properties very appealing.

With the property market currently experiencing a period of frenetic activity, our property experts can manage a sale or purchase, and any negotiations involving offers, surveys and financial advice too to find your perfect place in the country. Contact the Forge team to find out more.

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