BUDGET 2011: Stamp duty reform welcomed

Sarah Davidson

March 23, 2011

In his 2011 Budget, Chancellor George Osborne said the Government will “close down three forms of Stamp Duty Land Tax avoidance”.

He also said: “In the Plan for Growth we publish today, we set out specific measures we can take to help a wide range of businesses. We will take action to help the construction industry. Stamp Duty will now be levied on the mean value of the houses being purchased within a portfolio – not the bulk cost. And Real Estate Investment Trusts will be simplified to encourage home-building.”

Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz, said: “This will provide a significant boost to the private rental sector by encouraging more professional landlords and larger institutional investors to build up their portfolios, boosting the supply of much-needed homes for rent.”

Ian Potter, operations manager of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, said: “The rented sector plays a vital role in the housing market but is suffering from a lack of institutional investment, which in other countries is flourishing.

“In the UK there are many barriers to this kind of investment but by reforming stamp duty to bulk purchases, it seems the Government might be removing one of them. In addition, and depending on exact details, the proposed changes to REITs could act as a further step towards enabling institutional investment.”

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, added: “With the public kitty empty and unable to fund much needed new housing in the social sector, the only alternative is to stimulate investment in the private rented sector.

“The Chancellor’s reform of stamp duty for bulk purchases may well provide a shot in the arm for institutional investment into private rented sector which is excellent news. By allowing multi-property landlords to face mean value stamp duty rather than aggregate, the government is reducing the financial barriers placed in front of corporate investors and stimulating increased participation from big players.”

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