Estate agents push for stamp duty reform ahead of next month’s budget

Estate agents push for stamp duty reform ahead of next month’s budget

NAEA Propertymark (formerly the National Association of Estate Agents) has put stamp duty reform at the heart of its submission to the Government in advance of next month’s budget. The UK professional body for estate agents wants first-time buyers to be exempt from stamp duty in a bid to encourage more people into home ownership.

The association claims that lower incomes for younger people, combined with limited access to mortgage finance, mean that homeownership rates amongst young people are declining. The NAEA monthly Housing Report shows that the proportion of sales made to first-time buyers fell from 30% in June 2017, to just 23% in July 2017.

With estate agent reports showing the average purchase price for first-time buyers having risen by almost 10% on the month and 0.1% on the year, the move could provide a helping hand onto the property ladder.

Putting its ideas before the Treasury, NAEA Propertymark also wants pensioners who downsize to a smaller home to be exempt from paying stamp duty. The calls come on the back of the association’s Housing 2025 report, which found that 4.5% of households in England and Wales – some 1.1 million homes – were overcrowded. The report also claimed that 16.1 million houses (69%) were under-occupied. As such, NAEA believes that: “By making it easier for older people to sell their homes, it will free up family-sized homes for the next generation and boost housing supply.”

The body also wants the Government to explore incentives such as access to over-65’s bonds with market-beating returns for property downsizers.

Earlier this month, an ex-NAEA chief told the Government that stamp duty should be paid by sellers. Simon Gerrard, a past president of the association, claimed that such a move would make it easier for first-time buyers and for second-steppers looking to move up the property ladder.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will present his Autumn Budget to Parliament on 22nd November 2017.

Deborah Stuttard

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