Stamp Duty

Boris to switch Stamp Duty from Buyers to Sellers

It’s always gratifying to see one’s ideas vindicated in reality – a kind of benign schadenfreude, if you like. This week, Boris mooted that he could switch Stamp Duty from buyers to sellers, something that I have been proposing for a number of years.

It could end a long period of market stagnation, instigated by witless former Chancellor George Osborne’s Stamp Duty escalator ‘reforms’ in that ill-fated Autumn Budget of 2014.

His strategy (probably scribbled on the back of a chewing-gum wrapper) tried to re-model the ‘slab-sided’ previous system by removing buyers at the lower end out of the SDLT net altogether whilst at the same time clobbering potential buyers of over £900,000. If they had the temerity to own more than one property, they were hammered with a surcharge. So much for the property-owning democracy and the party that supports entrepreneurship. Read more

Is the humble For Sale Board the answer for weary home sellers, in the sluggish pre-Brexit market?

The double dose of pain from Stamp Duty hikes and a faltering Brexit have induced torpor into the Residential Property Market. So it is an opportune moment to review marketing techniques that will help deliver a sale, even in these turgid times.

Those who sneer at the For Sale Board and dismiss it as ‘Prehistoric’ or think of it as an agent’s conspicuous self-aggrandisement, are guilty of a gross misunderstanding. You, the consumer, maybe losing out. 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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