Autumn Statement 2013: UK Chancellor George Osborne Slams Foreign Property Owners with New Tax (Photo: Reuters)
Autumn Statement 2013: UK Chancellor George Osborne Slams Foreign Property Owners with New Tax (Photo: Reuters)

UK chancellor George Osborne has revealed that foreign property investors would have to pay capital gains tax in a bid to prevent a housing bubble from forming and to rake in lucrative reserves for the Treasury.

During his Autumn Statement, the chancellor said that that capital gains tax (CGT) would be levied on foreign owners at the same rate as for UK residents.

"Britain welcomes investment from overseas but it's not right that those who live here have to pay CGT, but those who are non-residents do not," said Osborne.

"From April 2015, non-UK residents will have to pay CGT on property in Britain, including selling of that property."

People living in Britain pay 18% CGT and 28% if they make a profit when reselling a property that is not classified as their main home.

People who own properties in the UK and are deemed non-residents are currently exempt from CGT.

In November, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said "We certainly need to make sure that people who invest very large amounts of money into property in central London their fair share of tax in those transactions."

"That is why we are looking at options like a differential application of CGT to those kind of transactions."

He added that an influx of foreign money had left parts of the London property market "divorced from and dislocated from the rest of the economy".

Latest data from the Office of National Statistics reveal that Foreign Direct Investment into the UK hit a record high of nearly £1tn in 2012.

Meanwhile, UK house prices rebounded from two previous monthly falls in October as they rose by more than £50,000 in the capital city.

According to property website Rightmove, the average asking price for homes increased by 2.8% to £252,418 (€156,274, $252,418) in October, returning to a growth trend that started in January 2013.

London witnessed an "unsustainable" 10.2% rise in asking prices in October, following falls of 2.8% and 1.5% in August and September, respectively.

Many of October's best performers are boroughs in inner London, the website said. Among London boroughs, City of Westminster saw the highest 11.9% increase in house prices, followed by an 11.8% increase each in Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Home prices are now up 5.6% on July's all-time high of £515,379, pushing the year-on-year increase in London to 13.8%, according to Rightmove.