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Calls for Enhanced Tax Benefits for Landlords

Leading estate agency, Winkworth, has voiced its concerns over the current state of the property market, pressing for unity in housing delivery debates and a restoration of landlords’ mortgage interest relief. As the Tory party conference approached, Winkworth’s chief executive, Dominic Agace, articulated his thoughts on The Property Exchange podcast, pinpointing significant challenges within the rental domain.

“We are seeing rent rises in London of 15% this year, with 10% forecast next year,” he noted. Highlighting the root causes, Agace stated, “The lack of supply is caused by increased intervention by the government and tax changes. We are hearing stories of families squeezing into smaller properties because that’s all they can afford.” He expressed the urgent need for efficient measures, suggesting, “We need people to be able to be where they need to live for work in a place that’s suitable for them and for the government to take some quick action and reverse the tax measures to encourage landlords.”

On the broader housing landscape, Agace criticised the dwindling housing targets, which he attributed to internal conflicts. He said that a dearth of investment has left local authorities ineffectual, and cumbersome regulations have elongated the planning process, causing home-building delays. He recommended a renewed focus, suggesting the government should “focus on building homes by providing more planning resources” and by introducing “incentives for downsizers.”

Echoing the sentiment on planning challenges, Adam Stackhouse, Winkworth’s MD of Developments and Commercial Investments, proposed a solution on the podcast, saying, “A joint team from the private and public sectors could be parachuted into local authorities to fix these problems, with a 90-day turnaround time, to look at planning applications stuck on the shelf.” He further emphasised the government’s role, suggesting it should “deliver incentives that offer up a fair land value.”