Stamp duty ‘in urgent need of review’

Ramesh Sharma

March 11, 2006

Using information taken from the Land Registry, Portman revealed British homeowners paid a collective total of £2.55 billion in stamp duty between March to December 2005, an increase of £57.2 million from the total taken before the threshold changes. During this nine- month period, the rise in stamp duty, to an average of £3,459 per property purchase, coincided with a fall in house sales.

Matthew Wyles, group development director at Portman Building Society, argued the April threshold change was purely cosmetic. “Despite government assurances that a rise in the stamp duty threshold would benefit the first-time buyer (FTBs), they appear to be sucking in more revenue than ever before.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called for changes to the stamp-duty land tax (SDLT). Research by RICS revealed 95 per cent of chartered surveyor estate agents believe SDLT is in need of review and urged the government to increase the bottom threshold to £150,000. Sarah Gwilt, mortgage adviser at Dickson Lishman Prince, said: “It’s a good idea as what can you buy for under £120,000? If it alters the threshold, I’d also like to see the £250,000 threshold increased.”

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