Stamp duty should pay for new housing

Sarah Davidson

May 11, 2012

Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, said it made no sense that the government currently reaped £4bn a year from stamp duty yet spent less than £1bn on housing.

He said: “Given the amount of money the government takes out of the property sector through stamp duty, and let’s face it they add no value to that transaction, there ought to be a link with how much money they take out and how much they put back in.

“That is hugely disproportionate at this moment in time. They are taking out at least four times what they’re investing – that is in my view adding to the malaise that currently exists.”

Government weighs up cutting stamp duty for first-time buyers

The government has committed to “get Britain building” but has so far only set aside £400m to restart stalled construction sites.

Turner added: “The housing market led us into recession and it will lead us out of recession. A healthy housing sector is crucial to the UK economy.”

Turner also said the 600,000 transactions annually completed in the mortgage market over the past four years equate to a person moving house every 25 or 26 years.

“This is not a sustainable market,” he added. “We do not expect this to release overnight but we will see a return to people moving every 12 years.”

Countrywide is the UK’s largest estate agent and sells one in every ten homes in Britain.

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