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Stamp Duty clarity must be Budget priority says top agent

A leading agent says the worst thing that could happen with Wednesday’s Budget is if the Chancellor does not deliver on stamp duty holiday speculation.

The Times last week quoted government sources saying that the current holiday, ending on March 31, would be extended to late June.

Now Jeremy Leaf, the London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, says: “It would be a shame if many buyers, who are in particular need of the saving, are unable to capitalise on it through little fault of their own, but for the backlog in searches, mortgage offers or building works.”

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Specifically Leaf wants the extension to be tapered so as to minimise fall throughs.

“We believe [Chancellor] Rishi Sunak has recognised the importance of an active housing market, not just for property people, but to aid wider economic recovery. We can envisage the concession not being extended to investors, but targeted towards further help for first-time buyers.”

Leaf is also urging clarity on Capital Gains Tax, following speculation this may rise. “The threat of an increase has prompted record numbers of landlords to set up limited companies in anticipation. However, if it doesn’t happen in this Budget, we would like to see a medium to longer-term plan, which will reduce uncertainty and keep transactions moving.”

Leaf concludes: “Essentially, the Chancellor must not compromise on transaction numbers. Taxation should not be a deterrent to moving.

“It is so important for job and social mobility that people can move in and out of the market freely, and particularly after the pandemic that we can all get on with our lives, returning to normal as quickly as possible.”

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