Gains made on the disposal of a property can be exempt from Capital Gains Tax if it is, or was, the owner's main residence ...
To save Capital Gains Tax, the property doesn't have to be the owner's main residence at the sale date, but should have been for some of the time of ownership. The last 18 months of ownership are exempt, as is the period of residence.
If you own a second home you can still take advantage of the Principal Private Residence (PPR) exemption by electing a property to become the principal residence. The nominated property can be in the UK or abroad.
Once you've made the election, you can flip to the other residence as often as you like, providing you tell HMRC within 2 years of acquisition of the property. If you delay occupation, then the date of moving can be used.
It makes good sense to plan the election as soon as a second property has been purchased. If you're selling more than one property, ensure the election of PPR is on the property that will make the most gain on the sale, meaning the most Capital Gains Tax will be due. If you don't make an election, HMRC will do it for you, which won't be to your advantage.
So, if you're selling a property, flip the election to it, sell it, then flip back to the main home. You lose PPR on the main home for the duration of the sale of the other property, but this will be an insignificant amount in the big scheme of things and it will mean you save on Capital Gains Tax overall.
If you'd like to find out more about anything I've written here, do call me on 01908 774323 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.