The proposed higher rates of SDLT for additional homes has caused a surge in demand from property buyers, particularly in the buy-to-let market.

The government proposes that a 3% higher rate of SDLT will apply to purchases of additional properties completed on or after 1 April 2016, unless the parties exchanged before 26 November 2015.

The proposals have forced some potential buyers to firm up their intention to buy an additional property. However, the increased SDLT is proving controversial. 

Married couples will be treated as one single unit when looking at ownership of properties. Couples that are separated, but not divorced, and buy a smaller home for one party to live in away from the family home, will be caught by the higher charge. As will those who own property abroad (including Scotland) and wish to invest in a second home in England or Wales.