Never one to miss an opportunity, George Osborne knew he was onto a winner when he chose to raise stamp duty by 3%, enabling the Government to get in on the buy-to-let action.
Due to come into play from 1st April, the landlord tax hike is anything but an April fools, it’s an attack on entrepreneurial Britain.
Poorly timed, as the uncertainty over the possibility of Brexit looms and fears over a new recession emerge, the tax hike is a questionable decision.
My concern is around the moral decision for the change, as I believe Number 11 should have been supporting the brave hearts of buy-to-let, not restricting their lifelines.
Buy-to-let is undoubtedly a key entrepreneurial activity in the UK – something the Chancellor seems to have forgotten. There are sophisticated players in the market, much like myself, that have replaced employment completely as a result of their success and many who depend on buy-to-let to supplement their income.
Without a doubt, it is a viable, highly lucrative business prospect for many with great development opportunities, as many of you will have experienced.
Headlines have highlighted the threat of the impending tax increase and suggested that as many as 200,000 landlords will leave the market bringing 500,000 properties to the fore. As alarming this may be, it needs to be put into perspective.
Of course the tax hike could be having the opposite effect on the market, as landlords rush to get in on the action before it becomes less lucrative for them. Estate agent Haart reported earlier in the week that for every property that came on the market in January, there were 15 buyers.
The change in policy hangs over the market like a dark cloud and as a result many landlords are worrying about their livelihoods, acting with haste.
However, entrepreneurial Britain is robust and as any successful business owner knows, there are solutions to every problem. Flexible strategies need to be sourced and adopted.
London has been a red zone for years now and is not a fair representation of the British property market. First-time buyer homes are upwards of £450,000 with the average rent for a studio being around £2300.
Stamp duty will undoubtedly affect London properties but any smart investor will know that without huge amounts of capital to buy, London is not worth the hassle.
In the current climate, it is best to look to places in the North for property investment prospects. I have more than 100 properties in the Manchester area which provide a great source of cash-flow and there are areas such as Derbyshire which are great investment prospects.
The northern powerhouse of Manchester is booming with huge potential and employment opportunities fuelled by the strategic launch of Media City a few years ago housing more than 300 companies.
Landlords within my network who have already cottoned on to this are selling up properties in London to buy five or six in the North, receive a greater cash flow and of course pay no stamp duty come April.
Success in the market is primarily down to doing the research and sourcing alternative options. Of course companies with more than 15 buy-to-let properties have certain tax exemptions which may present an opportunity to independent landlords thriving in the market, whereby they establish their own firms to operate from, paving a separate path for property entrepreneurs.
My mantra is that for those wanting to become financially free, they should not be put off by Osborne’s tax hike and spooked by the headlines.
Though I list some advice here, entrepreneurs will know to source alternatives and be confident in business decisions.
*Marco Robinson is the winner of the People's Choice, Iproperty Best Real Estate Investment Company, 2015.
His new book, 'The Financial Freedom Guarantee' can be pre-ordered on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1786124971