Stamp duty cut ‘pointless’, says industry commentator

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a flurry of new stamp duty thresholds to be introduced on a permanent basis.

The plans include increasing the total amount on a property that is not subject to stamp duty from £125,000 to £250,000.

Previously, first-time buyers were exempt from stamp duty on the first £300,000 of a property, which is now lifted to £425,000, while the value of the property on which FTBs can claim relief was increased from £500,000 to £625,000.

Chairman of the Conveyancing Foundation and managing director of Convey Law Lloyd Davies says: “T. is absolutely no point in this measure as we do not need to stimulate the property market.

“The market is buoyant and property prices are still rising. The issue is one of a lack of supply over demand and so whilst this tax cut is great for those purchasing properties, especially for first time buyers, it does little for a very busy housing market other than to reduce revenue for the government.

“Meanwhile, the conveyancing industry is still recovering from the SDLT cuts during the Pandemic, which saw a sustained surge in the market and huge transaction volumes, the backlog of which the industry is still struggling to cope with.”

Meanwhile, others in the industry were more welcoming of the moves.

ONP Group chief executive Nick Hale says: “The cut in stamp duty should have a positive effect for first-time buyers and for people more generally, with the nil rate band being lifted to £250,000. This initially appears to be good news, but it could be counterproductive if it actually pushes house prices up further as we have seen previously, mitigating the savings in tax.

“A stamp duty change so soon after the last one ending in September 2021 will certainly have sent a ripple through the industry and caused concerns of the last year repeating itself, but the news that thresholds have moved permanently would have been very much welcomed by the conveyancing industry today.

“Stimulating the market with a long-term legislative change will take further pressure off the industry expecting firms to meet deadlines and we can focus and work together to bring our pipelines down.”