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Call to scrap stamp duty for ‘last-time buyers’

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

More than a million older homeowners would consider downsizing if stamp duty was scrapped for ‘last-time buyers’, research reveals.

Around 15 per cent of over-55 homeowners – the equivalent of 1.2 million people – would ‘definitely consider’ moving if they didn’t have to pay the tax, while a further 30 per cent said not having to pay stamp duty would influence their decision to move, the study by equity release specialists Key found.

Financial advisers would overwhelmingly support scrapping the charge, with 77 per cent backing the move, according to the findings.

Stamp duty is paid when you buy a property above a certain value. It was abolished for most first-time buyers in 2017, a move that’s benefited around 218,900 people.

Will Hale, chief executive of Key, said scrapping stamp duty for ‘last-time’ buyers would boost the property market.

“People who want to move would have one less barrier to overcome as due to the lack of suitable properties finding something in the right location can be costly,” he said.

“For wider society, this move would arguably not only mean more families could move into larger homes appropriate to their needs and the property market would receive a boost but would ideally be cost neutral as the increased number of transactions should cover any deficit.”

Stamp duty receipts on residential transactions fell by 10 per cent in the 2018/19 tax year to £8.37bn, according to HMRC figures in part down to first-time buyer relief.

House owners buying again pay no stamp duty up to £125,000 but then pay 2 per cent on the portion of the house price between £125,001 and £250,000 rising to 5 per cent on the sum up to £925,000 and then to 10 per cent on prices up to £1.5m.