Estate Agents urge Chancellor to re-think stamp duty in pre-budget report

Amanda Jarvis

November 30, 2004

The NAEA would like to see the current £60,000 threshold for stamp duty raised to help first time buyers, as well as the other tiers. A more gradual scheme of increment would also make the tax fairer for those just tipping over into the next boundary.

The NAEA has been campaigning for the structure of the stamp duty thresholds to be adjusted and updated for many years. In the last few months several other organisations have highlighted the issue with the Council of Mortgage Lenders producing a briefing document and West Bromwich Building Society running their ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign, both gaining widespread support from industry and the public.

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA, comments: “House prices have risen by around 150% since the £60,000 threshold for stamp duty was set over a decade ago. According to the Government’s own figures, the average cost of a home in the UK is now £155,627 – meaning that practically every homebuyer is now liable for this tax. In addition, all properties have been pushed further up the scale so an average family home will now often incur stamp duty of 3% – a level originally intended to hit only the higher end of the market.

“Stamp duty was never meant to be an all-encompassing property tax, but with the Chancellor’s refusal to adjust the scale, one can’t help wondering whether he is beginning to look on it as a contribution to his shortage in his spending. Home buyers should not be forced to pay for the Chancellor’s errors in his budgeting. We urge the Government to listen to what every financial organisation, industry body and member of the public is saying, and finally bring this tax into the 21st century, adjusting the levels accordingly. The consequences of failing to do so will be the almost total extinction of first time buyers and serious effects on the health of the remainder of the market. The power to avoid that situation lies in the Chancellor’s hands.”

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