A vital boost: Industry reacts positively to raising of stamp duty threshold

Property Reporter
8th July 2020
For Sale 313

The chancellor has delivered his summer statement, differing from a fiscal event in that there were no formal economic forecasts or details on duties and rates, but for once there was a decent slice of news for the property industry.

And, although it came as no surprise, the news that there will, in fact, be a 'stamp duty holiday', a raising of the threshold effective immediately, has been well received within the property industry.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, comments: “Following our engagement with HMT and MHCLG over the past few months, we welcome the Chancellor’s announcement this afternoon that he will be raising the threshold at which buyers will pay stamp duty to £500,000. This is a welcome commitment by the government and we are glad that they have listened to our calls to help sustain the property market following lockdown.

"These measures will enable people looking to buy a home to have the confidence and stability to be able to move forward with their purchase, which in turn will have a knock-on effect on the wider economy as people buy white goods and furniture. The market is moving well at the moment, however, once furlough has ceased and the anticipated recession hits, the market might well need further financial impetus, therefore it is right that the sector is given the support and tools it needs to rebound over the next 9 months.”

British property Federation, had this to say: "“A temporary SDLT holiday will provide a welcome boost to the build-for-sale market, but other parts of the market equally need further support. To drive the delivery of new, high-quality rental homes, the Chancellor missed a trick today by not giving investors in the build-to-rent sector an exemption from the SDLT 3% surcharge."

Chris Lallemand, Mazars, said: “The suspension of Stamp Duty for residential property up to £500,000 will help to spur transactions in the market, which fell to 50% of their normal levels over previous months. The property sector is already busy trying to assess demand for residential property, and it is likely that the disparity between demand and supply will determine whether it is the buyer or the seller who gets the benefit of the rate cut. It remains to be seen whether Wales and Scotland will follow suit for LTT and LBTT respectively.”

Alex Gibbs, Co-Founder and Director of Built Asset Management, said: “As a business deeply entrenched in the real estate market, we very much welcome today’s announcement regarding stamp duty.

Transactional volume within UK residential property is crucial at this time for protecting jobs in a sector which has been hit hard by the pandemic, following a difficult period dealing with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Confidence and movement in this sector are also incredibly important for the wider economy as it frees people to relocate for work, whilst feeding a huge number of subsectors in desperate need of revenues and activity.

Our hope is that the announcement does enough to also stimulate the buy-to-let market. It was reported last week that 440,000 tenants across the UK have defaulted on rental payments since the onset of the pandemic. This is clearly terrible for those tenants but is also incredibly distressing for 440,000 landlords, some of whom will likely rely on that income to fund their overheads and feed their families. It is important that the government remembers and acknowledges the importance of the private rental sector and does what it can to simulate it at a time when many landlords and investors have had their fingers burned.”

John Goodall, CEO at Landbay, says "The Green Homes Grant for homeowners and landlords as well as the reduction in stamp duty is a really positive move by the Chancellor. While, inevitably, the additional 3% stamp duty will remain in place for those who already have another property, for landlords buying a property of £475,000 for example, this will mean a saving of £13,750 in stamp duty, which is a huge opportunity for those looking to expand their portfolios. It will also give landlords the opportunity to move properties from their own name into limited companies, which they may not have done previously due to the stamp duty implications.

"In addition, the incentives to bring back furloughed workers and the investment in hospitality should mean that unemployment may not be as high as some may have expected. With the number of schemes now in place to support jobs, this should give landlords some confidence that there will be fewer rental defaults than may have been the case.

"This is clearly a positive way forwards both for homeowners and for landlords and should deliver the kickstart to the property market that the Chancellor wanted to achieve."

Jon Cooper, Head of Distribution at specialist bank, Aldermore commented: “It is encouraging to see the Government being proactive in backing homebuyers at a time when there is an urgent need to support the market. The initial costs of getting on the ladder can be a real barrier to many, so anything that helps reduce that entry fee is welcome for the housing market.

“The wider economic recovery through job retention after the furlough scheme ends and continued help for businesses will be the real determining factors for how the housing market performs this year. Homeowners and first-time buyers need job security if they are to feel confident in realising their homeowner plans.”

James Greenwood of Stacks Property Search says, “The Stamp Duty holiday provides welcome relief and has extensive benefits for the UK economy.

“The property market requires a strong performing lower end where the majority of transactions take place – these are the legs that support the market as a whole.

“The fact that the Stamp Duty holiday has been introduced with immediate effect is excellent news and will prevent a stop/start disadvantage to the market.

“The expectation was that it would stay in place until January – its extension to March is great news and prevents a scramble to get transactions over the line. By March ’21 we would expect to see the market settled and ready to operate at more normal levels into the spring and summer of next year.

“One of the problems in the housing market is a reluctance amongst the older generation to leave the houses that have become too large for them. This will encourage downsizers, and free up the market in the middle and upper end of the market where there is a surplus of demand.”

Anna Clare Harper, co-founder of property fund Anglo Residential, says: "The stamp duty holiday is great news for buyers and the wider housing market. It makes buying properties easier and more affordable. More transactions mean greater liquidity throughout the market as the impact filters up the ladder. We would expect this to encourage house-price growth, which in turn will make investors and homebuyers more confident about making a move in the near future."

Adam Oldfield, head of sales and account management at Phoebus Software, says: “The government has shown today that it is not prepared to wait until the budget, as had been predicted, to announce changes to stamp duty. By raising the threshold to £500,000 the Chancellor has given a lifeline to not only potential home movers and purchasers, but also to the whole of the housing market. The intention is to protect, support and create jobs and by effectively abolishing stamp duty for properties up to £500,000, even temporarily, it is clear that the government understands how important housing is to the UK’s overall economy.

"This is a vital boost for the market and one that needs to be capitalised upon, while it is available.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, says: "The stamp duty holiday will be a huge boost to the housing market, with many first-time buyers encouraged to now buy, with high loan-to-values and low mortgage rates to support their purchase. 

"Announcing that it is applicable with immediate affect is a big help, as it avoids the prospect of slowing down the market over the summer months.

"Stamp duty has been an obstacle to home purchase for a few years now, and this payment holiday at the lower end is a great first step. Some tweaking at the higher end is still needed, however, if the Government wants to boost transactions and in turn generate more income from stamp duty. Hopefully, this might come in the next budget."

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: "The stamp duty holiday has been well trailed but is welcome not the less. The most pleasing aspect is that it is due to start immediately because if it had been delayed it would have had a negative impact on the market until it was introduced. 

"The Chancellor is clearly under pressure to reduce the prospect of unemployment getting out of hand and the economy plunging into an even deeper recession. The housing market is a key driver of activity with its multiplier impact on other businesses, as well as its positive impact on job and social mobility. What’s good for the housing market is good for the economy. However, we will be looking to see an impact on transactions rather than prices as we try to keep pent-up demand momentum moving, even as furlough and other government support is withdrawn.

"To avoid a pinch point, the Chancellor might think about phasing out the deadline; otherwise it could lead to a rush of purchases up to the end of March and a quiet market thereafter.’ 

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