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Stamp Duty Revolution - call for sellers to pay instead of buyers

A prominent estate agent has started an online petition to reverse stamp duty so it is paid by the vendor, not the purchaser.

Simon Gerrard of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents has posted the petition on the Change website.

It calls for two main changes:


1. Reverse Stamp Duty so that it is paid by the seller instead of buyers ; and 

2. Remove Stamp Duty from older homeowners downsizing.

Gerrard describes these as “two simple changes that could be made to fix Stamp Duty so that it would work better for young families and the market in general.”

Here’s the petition in full:

One of the key challenges aspiring buyers face when purchasing a house is the punitive cost of Stamp Duty. The people most affected by this tax are young families looking to upsize their homes to fit their children, who are already struggling with having to shoulder the additional costs of parenthood. 

For many young families, these costs are too high, preventing them from moving - leaving them stuck in cramped conditions unsuitable for family life.

There are two simple changes that could be made to fix Stamp Duty so that it would work better for young families and the market in general:

1) Reverse Stamp Duty so that it is paid by the seller instead of buyers.

This would remove the financial constraints that are preventing those who are not first-time buyers from moving up the property ladder. 

This Reversing of Stamp Duty would mean that first-time buyers pay no stamp duty and still allow the government to generate revenue from property transactions. 

The main benefit would be to remove the burden of a tax on aspiration and mean that young families who are presently stuck in the stamp duty trap will pay less, as they are only paying duty on the home they are selling.

2) Remove Stamp Duty from older homeowners downsizing

To encourage older homeowners to downsize into smaller, more suitable homes, and to free up family-sized homes for young families who need them, we are also calling on the government to scrap Stamp Duty altogether for older homeowners looking to downsize. 

Presently, many family homes are occupied by empty nesters with unused rooms. These people are disincentivised from downsizing due to the high costs posed by Stamp Duty, creating an inefficient allocation of strained housing resources. 

With the right incentive – scrapping Stamp Duty for older downsizers - this could be easily fixed.

Please sign our petition to take a key step to fixing the UK’s broken housing market and help young families by reforming Stamp Duty.


You can see the petition here: 


  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Genuis I am a vendor selling at 500k, I have to now pay the SDLT, which to a standard buyer is £12,500, so my new asking price is £512,500, so guess who is really paying for this. And if you are selling to a landlord, well that SDLT on a 500K property is a whopping £27,500, so my new asking price is £527,500. Maybe this article should have run on the 1st of April; actually it is the type of idea that the government turns into policy as they have no thought of the 'unintended consequences.'

    Phil Priest

    Brilliant reply Mr Stanton.

    One other issue is that if SDLT is moved to the Sellers, that means the Sellers would be paying it twice, once when they purchased the property and again when they are selling it...

    As for first time buyers, they can buy a property up to £425k in value without incurring SDLT, so that isn't a barrier is it?? If they can afford a first home costing more that £500k then surely SDLT isn't a barrier.

    Richard Rawlings

    Not sure that the market works that way Andrew. Your asking price is presumably the highest the market would accept in any event. Increasing it take account of vendor-paid SDLT is just another way of overpricing the property. So the cost is NOT actually passed on to the buyer.

  • Proper Estate Agent

    This really is one of the stupidest things I've read over stamp duty since it was last suggested. The other comment states why, not that it even needed stating you'd hope.

  • icon

    I guess to slightly play devil's advocate, it would potentially allow a buyer to borrow that cost. And in real terms based on cash to borrowing ratios it would free up significant sums well over the cash equivalent. This would of course lead to some sort of house price inflation, but would be countered on the onward as funds received by vendors would not necessarily be passed up the chain.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    As we all know, only talk about SD once you have decided exactly what you are going to do. Anything else just stalls the market.


    Can you pass that on to Hunt! ;)

  • James The Surveyor

    For the same reason it works - that a buyer doesn't have to fund extra costs which are not mortgageable, it doesn't work - the mortgage companies will lend less because they won't be able to realise the full value of the property if they have to foreclose.

  • Richard Rawlings

    In principal this is not such a bad idea, as it puts the burden of tax on those who have, until now, made a load of tax free cash on their property's increase in value. Problems would arise however if the market fell, as it would potentially put more people into negative equity, preventing those who need to sell actually putting their property on the market. James also makes a good point above about repossessions - perhaps the buyer should remain liable in that event. Interesting debate that is worth exploring by a well-qualified think tank.


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