What the Stamp Duty Land Tax changes mean for the property market

By Jonathan Hudson | 22nd Nov 2017 | Blog | Government Regulation

I’m disappointed the Chancellor hasn’t decided to make changes to resolve the higher price brackets of stamp duty by trying only to help first time buyers, which will continue to reduce transaction levels in central London property.

Are first time buyers really better off?

Whilst it does give first time buyers a helping hand to jump on to the ladder, if people can’t afford the stamp duty moving upwards then there won’t be the stock available for these first time buyers to move into except new builds or those selling and not buying onwards, which is rare.

We really need liquidity and transaction levels to pick up - failure to address this is just plain stupid. We need the whole of the market to move, not just first time buyers, especially as home moving accounts for 8-9% of GDP with all the services that surround moving home, such as solicitors, finance, removals, building work and redecoration. The list goes on.

How can the government get the whole property market moving?

If Mr Hammond really wanted to get the country moving, a more daring stamp duty change would have been a huge shot in the arm for many families who find themselves in homes they cannot upsize from.

For example, myself and many others are now in a zone where we have a home that catered for the size of our families 5-10 years ago but the cost of moving with stamp duty is making the move upwards nigh on impossible. And if you take me for example, being just on the wrong side of 45, I only have a few years left to gain a mortgage before the lenders start questioning the ability and amount of years to pay back the loan before retirement!

First time buyers will only be able to buy if there is stock. Therefore, those people selling and those above them need to be able to afford to move or there will be very little for first time buyers to purchase. We really need the whole property market to move.

The other option would be to transfer the tax to the seller as they have, more often than not, already made money from their home. This would then reduce the cost for purchasing upwards and help first time buyers all at the same time.

A look to the future

Whilst today’s result is disappointing, I hope the plight of families will be heard by the chancellor in the near future when he realises the mistake made in the 2017 budget. As feared, this type of a change is too daring for a government trying to appease the many at this critical time.

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