economy

What the residential property market needs now, is less Imodium and more a blast of stewed prunes

Anyone who doesn’t reside under a stone and can barely colour in newspaper pictures, must have heard mutterings about the imminent Budget regarding resurrecting the Mansion Tax corpse. As if this wasn’t alarming enough, it may be topped up with a possible raid on what’s left of private pensions.

I was a little confused about the former Chancellor Sajid Javid’s mindset. We were all confident that he would ‘break the economic mould’, rather than end up being covered in it. For instance, where is the clarity on the 3% surcharge which could be slapped on international buyers of UK residential property? Does this mean that at the higher end SDLT could be an eye watering 18%?

The new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, needs to make this clear in his first Budget, which I hope will still be in early March. Read more

Don’t just do something Mr. Hammond, sit there!

Ah, the joys of Spring. Hosts of waving daffodils, cheery birdsong – and a mini Budget update. If the country is to emerge from its collective wintry torpor then Mr. Hammond has to grow up, be a man and cut the Stamp Duty monster down to size. The problem stems from the clumsy ‘revision’ of the Stamp Duty escalator. Not only does it bend the Residential Property Market out of shape, but it is now costing the Treasury a £1billion per annum or more to sustain.

Like many government ‘ideas’, it reeks of incompetence and failure (thank you, George Osborne for this legacy). Prospective purchasers above a £1million, i.e. mostly in London, are being hit by a slew of aggravated tax costs. Not surprisingly, transaction numbers have been curtailed by 70% and any liquidity in the market has turned to stodge. This tax is perfectly collectable, but easily avoided – as long as you don’t do anything so ridiculous as move house.
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