A London estate agent has broken ranks with much of the industry and instead of welcoming the stamp duty holiday has described it as “cowardly”.
Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard, insists that the holiday - which exempts all homes selling for £500,000 or less - will only benefit those who have already decided to move or those who decide to go this autumn and who complete before the holiday ends in late March.
He has told the local press in north London that: “My concern is that, in a market which already has pent-up demand, the short-term benefit is nowhere near as extensive as the long-term damage of removing it in March.
“Rather than a short-term solution [Chancellor Rishi] Sunak should have thought longer-term and reversed stamp duty entirely so that no buyer needs to pay the duty – only the seller.”
During the Conservative leadership campaign in summer 2019, and later in that year, both Boris Johnson and former Chancellor Sajid Javid spoke of possibly reversing the burden of stamp duty from buyer to seller.
Johnson also hinted at the time that should he become Prime Minister he might reverse stamp duty hikes on higher-end properties - but that has not come to pass.
Gerrard claims that switching the tax from buyer to seller would remove the burden for first-time buyers and help older owners move further up the ladder.
Simon Gerrard - president of the National Association of Estate Agents in the mid-2010s - has been a long-standing critic of stamp duty, and first wrote to government seeking radical changes in 2017.