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Slash stamp duty by a third, estate agency tells government

Jackson-Stops & Staff, a critic of the stamp duty system since its reform in 2014, now says the government should slash it by a third across the UK.

A statement from the agency says that the duty has had such a negative impact on home sales in prime central London that despite family, lifestyle or business needs, people are putting their next step up the property ladder on hold.

“Our purchaser registration numbers are up, but the fluidity of the market has diminished hugely. When buyers are looking at 20 per cent transaction costs including stamp duty, solicitor’s fees and moving costs, the attitude becomes: ‘we’re better off staying where we are’” claims Toby Whittome, sales director at Jackson-Stops & Staff London.

He says that in his patch of Kensington and Chelsea, sales have fallen to around 120 a month, compared with around three times that number in peak 2014.

The agency says figures from UK Finance - formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders - show much of the transaction activity in the capital is outside the prime central area and come from the lower to mid-levels of the greater London region.

“If stamp duty levels weren’t causing so much harm to the £1m-plus market I think we would see the health and fluidity at the lower to middle end of the Greater London market spread to the higher end too” says Nick Leeming, JS&S chairman.

“One recommendation is a UK wide reduction in stamp duty levels of around a third, which should boost the property market at all levels, particularly at the £1m-plus level. It is worth remembering that in central London typical family homes will likely be worth £1m or more and, with stamp duty levels preventing these homes entering the market, it means that families are unable to move up or down the property ladder when they need to” he adds.

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