Mortgage Intelligence Insight: Key financial dates for you and your clients in 2016

In a mortgage industry that seems to change as much as the weather in the UK, we have compiled a short list of key financial dates worth noting for you and your client. From scheduled tax changes and the ending of housing schemes to annual speeches and financial events, these important dates will keep you and your clients ahead of the game in 2016.

16 March 2016: Budget Speech

One of the most important events in the industry calendar will be Chancellor George Osborne’s annual Budget speech. After a cautious pre-election budget in 2015, some experts are preparing themselves for more change as the government tackles the housing crisis head on.

Anticipated announcements are on pension taxation and changes to tax relief, possibly moving from a tiered system to a flat rate. But whether more changes are on the way remain to be seen.

21 March 2016: European Mortgage Credit Directive

One of the biggest, yet scarcely mentioned financial changes in 2016 will be the MCD, or European Mortgage Credit Directive. This will come into play in March, introducing an EU-wide framework of conduct rules for all mortgage firms.

Designed to further protect consumers and create a sole European market, our rules will be set by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The biggest effect this is likely to have on the industry is on buy-to-let mortgages, foreign currency loans and the introduction of a European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS).

1 April 2016: Stamp Duty BTL

Changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) come into effect on 1 April 2016. This will mean higher rates of SDLT will be charged on purchases of additional residential properties (above £40,000), such as buy to let properties and second homes.

Although designed to disincentivise the financial investment in UK property and increase supply for first-time buyers, some experts have questioned the tax increases and feel landlords are being unfairly targeted. Either way, the rush to complete applications has already started in order to avoid the increase in April.

25 November 2016: Autumn Statement

It may not get the same attention as the annual budget speech, but the government’s autumn statement has historically contained some surprising financial announcements, such as changes to stamp duty in 2014 and changes to tax rates last year.

December 2016: End of Help to Buy 2

December will see the end of the government’s Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee Scheme. Otherwise known as Help to Buy 2, it has helped many first-time buyers with only a small deposit onto the property ladder.

Unlike the Help to Buy: Equity Loan, which only covers new-build properties, Help to Buy 2 can be used for both new build and existing homes. The scheme is now being withdrawn as lenders bridge the gap, with many now offering mortgages on deposits of 5% without the assistance of government schemes.

TBC: A Base Rate Rise?

The possibility of a Bank of England Base Rate Rise has been the subject of financial speculation for several years now, ever since it was set to its lowest-ever level of 0.5% in 2009. Although many experts suggest that Mark Carney will announce a move on interest rates in late 2016, there are some that still say this will not happen until 2017.

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