The stamp duty land tax ‘bonanza’ is over

Michael Lloyd

August 3, 2018

The stamp duty land tax bonanza is over, Mark Bogard, chief executive of the Family Building Society, argued.

HMRC figures showed housing transactions in Q2 remained at near historic lows and as a consequence, receipts from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) are about 13% lower than the equivalent period in 20171.

Bogard said: “These figures show that we need an urgent re-think on housing policy. The market is gummed up and SDLT is a big reason.

“A fully functioning housing market is essential to the country’s economic well-being. At the moment lack of a good stock of available housing is a massive disincentive to labour and social mobility.

“Government ‘sticking plaster’ solutions to help first time buyers are not a long-term answer. The over 50s need to be encouraged to move and free up property for growing families. Changes to the transaction tax will need a new mindset from all parties – political and home owners.

“One thing is certain, and the analysis of these latest figures carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is clear: the housing market needs to be re-invigorated if our housing system is to work more effectively.

“It is time for a courageous strategic change in our approach to taxing property.”

Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at LSE, said: “On the face of it the SDLT statistics look relatively buoyant – but the underlying trend in SDLT tax revenues is quite clearly downward.

“Moreover, the low level of transactions by existing owner-occupiers is a disaster for our hopes of a well operating housing market.”

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