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Stamp duty transactions fall by a quarter at close of 2023

Stamp duty transactions fall by a quarter at close of 2023
Shekina Tuahene
Written By:
Shekina Tuahene

The number of residential transactions liable to pay stamp duty fell by 25% annually to 127,600 in Q4, data has shown.

This was a 3% decline on the previous quarter. 

Residential transactions that were liable to pay the tax accounted for 89% of all stamp duty transactions over the period. 

At the same time, the tax intake from residential property transactions came to £3.1bn in Q4, which was 25% lower than the previous year. This also represented a 4% fall on the quarter before. 

Average stamp duty bill falls 

An analysis from Coventry Building Society showed that homebuyers paid an average of £9,937 in stamp duty in 2023, which was lower than the previous year’s average of £11,202. 

While total HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) receipts for this amounted to £11.8bn last year, £8.85bn of that was taken from residential transactions.  

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “Stamp duty is an easy cash grab for the Treasury but a huge burden on homebuyers. Over the years, different Chancellors have dropped hints and sometimes tinkered around the edges, but it’s been obvious for a long time that this is a tax that needs to be properly reviewed and reformed. The March Budget is a great opportunity to make a real change to a tax that is paid by hundreds of thousands of homebuyers every year. 

“Average stamp duty bills have almost doubled over the past 10 years from £5,600 in 2013. But reducing this burden on homebuyers could still benefit the economy – and the Treasury’s coffers – as people could spend the extra cash on improving their new home, boosting the retail and services sectors and returning some tax revenue through VAT.”  

The HMRC data showed that 13% of residential transactions in Q4 were eligible for first-time buyer’s relief, which was flat on the previous quarter. 

He added: “The relief for first-time buyers is clearly very welcome to those getting their foot on the property ladder. But there should also be some consideration to other parts of the market that need more incentive or help to move.  

“Downsizers are a logical group for the Treasury to be looking at in this respect, and we hope that when significant reform of the duty happens, it takes these homeowners into account.” 

Related: Inheritance Tax revenues set to hit record level as stamp duty drops