October saw a month-on-month increase in the amount of stamp duty land tax paid to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), official data reveals.
A total of £1.12bn in stamp duty was paid in October, up from £1.02bn the month before. However, according to the taxman, this figure is down from the £1.32bn paid in October 2022.
As a result, for the first 10 months of the year, homebuyers have paid out around £9.8bn on the tax.
This is down substantially from the £13.4bn paid by movers over the same period of last year, a reflection of the drop in housing activity in the aftermath of the disastrous mini Budget and the economic uncertainty which has followed.
Time to change stamp duty
Coventry Building Society argued that the Autumn Statement tomorrow (Wednesday 22 November) offers the perfect opportunity for the government to improve the levy.
There has been speculation that the Chancellor is considering tweaking stamp duty in a bid to boost housing transaction levels, given recent falls.
The mutual outlined a handful of different ways in which the government could improve stamp duty, for example by delivering long-term support rather than the sort of limited measures which have been the more recent approach. For example under the current rules homebuyers need to move before March 2025 in order to avoid the nil threshold dropping from £250,000 to £125,000.
Coventry suggested other measures which could improve the tax include keeping the thresholds in line with inflation, ensuring all first-time buyers benefit from first-time buyer relief and introducing some level of support for downsizers.
Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said that the right changes to stamp duty could “oil the wheels of the market” and make it easier for people to move up and down the housing ladder throughout their lifetime.
He said: “The go-to solution has been temporarily changing the thresholds, but there’s a risk that they become out of sync with house prices in a few years, and they don’t address other issues like support for downsizers or the vast regional tax discrepancies. A considered review from the Chancellor, rather than a temporary holiday or simplistic cut to rates, would have a greater and longer-lasting benefit to buyers and sellers.”