Stamp Duty 

Stamp duty payments soar following reforms

Stamp duty payments soar following reforms

The amount of stamp duty paid by homebuyers has continued to rise on the back of soaring property prices.

The average home owner pays £12,693 in stamp duty over their lifetime as they move up the housing ladder, according to figures from Lloyds Bank.

In London, where the burden is highest, homeowners who bought for the first time in 2001 will have spent an average of £40,576 on the transaction tax – 320 per cent more than the average for England and Wales.

The figures show more than three quarters (78 per cent) of first-time buyers pay stamp duty - up from 47 per cent in 2001.

When the coalition government reformed stamp duty in 2014, the then-chancellor George Osborne said it would lead to 98 per cent of homeowners in England and Wales paying less.

Before the reforms, the amount of tax levied was based on the full purchase price, which made it difficult to sell a property priced just above each band, distorting the housing market.

The reforms removed the ‘slab’ element to ensure rates applied to the amount of the purchase price that fell within particular duty bands, making it more like income tax.

In 2016, the government added a 3 per cent surcharge for buyers of second homes.

But despite the changes, homebuyers in England and Wales paid £8.3bn in stamp duty in 2016 - £1.2bn more than in 2015.

This reversed a £571m decline between 2014 and 2015 after the reforms were introduced.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director, said: “Rising house prices have caused stamp duty payments to continue to increase despite the reforms that came into effect from December 2014. 

“As a result, the £8.3bn raised in stamp duty in 2016 was more than £2bn higher than at the peak of the last housing boom in 2007.”

Some nine in 10 homemovers in England and Wales pay stamp duty, with the highest proportion (100 per cent) in London and the lowest (72 per cent) in the north of England.

Georgina Partridge, head of marketing and communications at London-based Plutus Wealth Management, said the rise in the amount levied through stamp duty was not unexpected.

“The idea was to raise additional funding through stamp duty, but also to control the buy-to-let market. I would expect it to increase if they were adding a banding.

“It will be interesting to know what happens in the future. House prices have continued to rise up until now, so the percentage will be going to rise as well. 

“It feels like a transitional period for the market. We might not see the full impact of the changes in legislation until a later date.”

simon.allin@ft.com

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