Stamp Duty should be stamped out – at least temporarily

Stamp Duty should be stamped out – at least temporarily

Whilst the world has been vilifying former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, he has been berating current government policy concerning stamp duty.

The article warned that young people are feeling beaten by capitalism, with more losing confidence in a system where it is so hard to actually ascertain property.

Other than claiming stamp duty to be “absurdly high”, Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, commented: “It is not just that things were so much easier 30 years ago when I left university and went looking for a flat. It was only 10 years ago, for heaven’s sake, that the proportion of owner occupiers among 25 to 34-year olds was still up at 64%.

“That figure has now plummeted to 39% – more than half the key generation shut out of the housing market.

This is meant to be Britain, the great home-owning democracy, but we now have lower rates of owner-occupation for the under-40s than France and Germany.

This is a disgrace. And you cannot expect young people to be automatically sympathetic to capitalism when they find it so tough to acquire capital.”

Although the figures by Halifax suggest that the number of first-time buyers are on the rise, the problem of stamp duty for home buyers in general can be seen as a future economic barrier to sustained growth.

John Phillips, group operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, says: “latest figures show that the housing market is struggling, especially amongst homemovers where activity is down 7.9%. I think the main reason for this is not that people don’t want to move, but they are reluctant to because stamp duty is so high that they are not prepared to shell out thousands of pounds just to move. So, they are staying put.

“The trouble is, while remortgaging is up, which is good, but is more to do with rate rises than anything else, the UK economy needs people to move house because it has a positive knock on effect on so many other sectors. So, if the Government wants to fix this, it needs to make a bold statement.

“The stamp duty cut has worked for first-time buyers, but we need similar incentives for the rest of the market. I would like to see an 18-month suspension of stamp duty across the board. This gives the market seven months or so before the Brexit deadline in March and a year afterwards to let things settle.”

In the uncertain post-Brexit mist, it seems that the government should be looking at helping all potential property movers, not just those trying to acquire property for the first time.

Will cuts on this scale ensure that the whole property market begins moving faster? Will the thought of avoiding paying thousands in stamp duty encourage more people to move house? Or, do you see more potential risks in stamping out stamp duty in the short term?

Martin Parrin

Martin is a Senior Content Writer for Today’s Conveyancer, Today’s Wills and Probate, Today’s Legal Cyber Risk and Today's Family Lawyer

Having qualified as a teacher, Martin previously worked as a Secondary English Teacher that responsible for Head of Communications.

After recently returning to the North West from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, Martin has left teaching to start a career in writing and pursue his lifelong passion with the written word.

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