From The Evening Standard:
An architect and his wife were only able to build their own home because they secured a mortgage two weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the economic meltdown that followed.
It then took five years for Jean-Jacques Lorraine and his wife Sophie to complete their family home in Dartmouth Park, Camden. The couple, 40 and 41, had bought the site in 2005 for £395,000 but it took almost three years to gain planning permission.
With their £500,000 mortgage, they built a four-bedroom home and moved in for Christmas 2010. Today it is worth about £1.8 million. Mr Lorraine said a way to help self-builders would be to rethink the community infrastructure levy which taxes all projects over a certain size. “Boris needs to take less tax in general,” he said.
I’m not sure if the £500,000 mortgage was in addition to the £395,000 cost of the land, but either way, that looks like a hefty windfall unearned tax-free capital gain to me – and he’s asking for a tax break?
What is most infuriating is that as an architect, surely he has a vague idea about land values? If, for example, he’d known that he’d get planning permission within three weeks, then the price he’d have had to pay for the site would have gone up accordingly; and London imposed a “roof tax” of £100,000 per new home, then the price he’d have had to pay for the site would have gone down accordingly. Whatever the tax is, and however stupid planning regulations are, the cost to him would have been the same.
Assuming he’s a reasonably high earning architect, has the penny not dropped that the absolute best thing for him would be to tax incomes less and tax land values more? TI’m awfully sorry that it took him three years to get planning, but just wait until somebody wants to build something near him, doesn’t he sound like the sort of Homey will be straight out there organising a petition against it? Those are rhetorical questions, by the way.