I was interested to see that a second London agent is calling on the Chancellor to consider amending Stamp Duty and making this a tax that is payable by the seller rather than the buyer. Another agent is asking for it to be split between vendor and purchaser. Jeremy Leaf, former RICS Residential Chairman, is calling for help for downsizers and first time buyers by way of Stamp Duty concessions to stimulate more transactions. “If sellers, rather than purchasers, pay stamp duty, activity will increase especially if house building picks up too – bearing in mind the increasingly high proportion of first-time buyers who pay [SDLT] now”; says Leaf. He says high Stamp Duty levied on buyers is stopping transactions across the housing market, not just at the top end but also amongst first time buyers.
While these comments are very London based, readers of previous blogs will know my views are that LBTT in Scotland has had a dampening effect on the housing market and with the addition of the Additional Dwelling Supplement this is making market conditions very difficult. I would be asking the Scottish Government to reduce the rate of the “ADS”, increase the bandings for LBTT and create a pot for first time buyers funded by way of amendment to Capital Gains Tax regulations to ensure that if anybody sells a property, even if it is their sole or main dwelling house, within seven years of purchasing it then a certain portion of the gain should be taxed at CGT levels. I think this will remove some of the burden from the house purchaser and, in my view, paying a tax from excess profit is always a less painful way of doing it.
Partner – Head of Property