‘Time to stamp out stamp duty’ urges leading estate agent

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Stamp duty is ‘outdated and counterproductive’, says a leading regional estate agent.

Eadon Lockwood and Riddle called for a complete overhaul of the property tax which has not been reviewed and permanently updated since 2003.

The firm said the rates – which impose an incremental tax on properties that sell for more than £125,000 – were confusing and slowing the rate of recovery across the region.

Now the estate agent, which has offices across Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, is supporting calls for an overhaul of the system which could see a number of changes introduced, including increasing the value at which a property becomes subject to stamp duty.

“Stamp duty is a very real deterrent for many trying to get on the property ladder, upgrade or downsize,” said ELR Managing Director Chris Thomson. “It affects just about everyone trying to buy or sell a house, irrespective of their income or situation.”

He said that 90% of properties sold through the 173-year-old business were affected by stamp duty in the last 12 months and that it is simply ‘out of touch’ with today’s property market.

The Tax Payers Alliance (TPA) recently launched the Stamp out Stamp Duty campaign, calling for the tax to be cut, arguing that it would ease the burden on home-buyers.

Chris Thomson said: “We are starting to see some recovery in the housing market across the region. At ELR we have had a couple of good months, the best in a long time, but if we want to see real improvement at a sustained rate the government needs to reconsider the way Stamp Duty is currently calculated.

“A move to reduce the number of properties that are subject to the tax, as well as a review of how much stamp duty is paid on those still eligible would have a positive impact on every single homeowner across the region and it is long overdue.

“When people can get onto the bottom rung of the ladder others will be able to sell and move up. It ultimately has a positive knock-on effect. The current system has simply not moved with the times. It is confusing, outdated and counterproductive.”

The amount a buyer must pay for a property increases depending on its value. The figures are: £125-£250k, 1%; £250k-£500k, 3%; £500k-£1m, 4%; £1m-£2m, 5%; £2m+, 15%

The latest research carried out by TPA reveals that four out of every five homes sold in 2012-13 will be subject to stamp duty and within five years 40 per cent of homes sold will be subject to duty of 3 per cent or more, costing at least £7,500.