Could stamp duty be the biggest obstacle to downsizing?

Warren Lewis
22nd November 2016

New new survey of 1700 pensioners carried out by Later Life Ambitions has strengthened calls for the Chancellor to make changes to Stamp Duty in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

The collated data revealled that the cost of stamp duty to be the biggest barrier to downsizing and freeing up the nation’s housing stock.

Among those who said they were considering moving, Stamp Duty was cited by 3 in 10 as the biggest barrier. This was selected over the cost of moving home (26%), a lack of small homes on the market (25%) and a lack of suitable housing for their health needs (11%).

Recent analysis from McCarthy & Stone found that if homeowners that currently under-occupy their homes were to downsize 766,000 homes would be released onto the market for families and those in housing need. This would cost less, and be quicker than building new properties. Late Life Ambitions is therefore calling on the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement to exempt older people who are moving into smaller properties from the Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Malcolm Booth, CEO of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, a founding member of Later Life Ambitions, said: “The results of the survey show that there are many pensioners who want to move and downsize into a more suitable property, but the costs of Stamp Duty are prohibitive.

We know that many younger people are struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder, and older people want to help up free up our country’s housing stock.

Exempting people who are downsizing or redesigning Stamp Duty so those downsizing are exempt from Stamp Duty would go some way to addressing the problem.”

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