The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in today’s Autumn Statement that stamp duty would finally be reformed. Bien Media clients SPF Private Clients, Anderson Harris and Prime Purchase all comment:
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘The long overdue reform of the antiquated slab system of stamp duty will result in a much fairer regime. The reforms will negate any scheme abuse where people buy just under a threshold to avoid a big jump in duty.
‘It will make it easier for first-time buyers and struggling families to get onto the ladder or move up it as they will need to set less money aside for stamp duty and can put more towards their deposit.
‘Anyone buying a property for more than £937,000 will pay more stamp duty under the new bandings, with the increases becoming more dramatic the greater the value of the property. The result will be a much fairer system, although there will be a flurry of high-end exchanges today to beat the changes.
‘While the changes will hit wealthier buyers in the pocket, they have to be fairer than a mansion tax as it’s only a hit that is taken once. It will fundamentally change the way we view our homes: people will think much harder about moving as they are likely to stay put for a number of years. Big moves will be the order of the day rather than several staged moves, particularly for more expensive properties.’
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Reforming the unfair slab Stamp Duty system is long overdue. However, doing it practically immediately is not fair as it will hit some people hard who are part way through a transaction but not able to exchange by midnight.
‘We would have liked to see an amnesty for those who have made a decision to buy based on current legislation. What does it mean for people who don’t have the extra cash they are now required to pay?
‘We have clients nearing exchange who won’t be able to achieve it before the deadline. Given a week or two amnesty, things would have been different.’
Hugo Thistlethwayte, managing director of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘The stamp duty changes are good news for first-time buyers and should free up the middle market as it removes barriers around the thresholds.
‘It is not great news for the top end, however, as it will hit buyers hard but on the upside it does make the introduction of a mansion tax far less likely.’