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Agents back newspaper call to slash high-end homes' stamp duty

Agents selling homes at the high end of the market have generally welcomed the Daily Telegraph campaign to persuade the Chancellor to slash stamp duty for the most expensive homes - but there has not been unanimous support.

As we reported yesterday, the newspaper has launched a campaign ahead of next weel’s Autumn Statement.

Prominent Mayfair agent Peter Wetherell tweeted that ‘Osbornitis’ - a reference to the former Chancellor who was the architect of higher stamp duty on homes selling for over £937,000 - was “not good”. He added: “Stamp duty reforms are damaging property market and cutting tax take.”

Jeff Doble, chief executive of Dexters - which has over 60 offices in London, including 28 in high-value central London - said in a statement: “The Chancellor needs to look at stamp duty in the £1m- to £3m price bands to ensure that people who want to buy a family home in London are not penalised to the extent that they will think twice about moving.”

He says current levels create a disincentive to sell. “This has not only hit tax revenues but also had a major impact on related industries, from construction, to furnishings and all services related to buying a home” he adds.

Meanwhile Robin Paterson, joint chairman and chief executive of United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty, threw his weight behind the Telegraph campaign.

“I propose that stamp duty is halved from the five per cent threshold upwards. The Treasury would benefit from an increase in transactions and the market would receive a much needed boost. The 2014 stamp duty reforms had a significant impact on all aspects of the market but most crucially on British buyers. We need these buyers back to create movement at all levels” says Paterson.

However, not quite every player at the high end of the market agreed.

Buying agent and market commentator Henry Pryor was quick to put fingers to keyboard after the Telegraph campaign launch and asked on Twitter: “Seriously, can someone find me someone other than an estate agent who is worried about the top end of the housing market turning down?”

He continued: “Government was accused of allowing a bubble to develop and are now accused of doing something about it. Only estate agents seem to be complaining.”

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    How about removing stamp duty for those that it affects the most? All primary homes under £400k?

    Saving the rich more money is taking the piss. People in the higher end of the market already most likely to pay less taxes. And the paper apparently claims to represent the average, working persons. What a joke!

    Brit Sixteen Sixty Four

    The problem with removing stamp duty under £400k is that the initial cost savings on stamp duty would be swallowed up by higher house prices. Yes there would be an initial increase in transactions but that would soon tail off.

    Henry Pryor is spot on with his observations yet again. Post credit crunch with all the low interest rates, QE foreign investors piled into the London market much of it as laundered money. The huge price rises on these bought cash box properties soon rippled out across the South East and priced out a lot of the domestic market. The stamp duty changes were a welcome break on this and those central estate agents made lots of easy money before this so of course they are upset. They just need to work a bit harder now rather than moaning and taking huge amounts of foreign capital for granted.

     
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    Agreeing or disagreeing with a campaign or lobbying call before an Autumn Statement or Budget - lovely press opportunity for agents....!

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