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Sweeping reforms to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in the UK have been announced which take effect immediately and will mean many people, especially first time buyers, will pay less property tax. The reform announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne abolishes the previous archaic bandings with a more progressive system designed to help young professionals and families get on the housing ladder. The new charge will only apply on a portion of value that is above each new level. So there will be no SDLT up to £125,000, 2% up to £250,000, 5% up to £925,000, 10% up to £1.5 million and 12% over £1.5 million. Osborne pointed out that only on purchases of more than £937,000 will buyers end up paying more than they have done. It is also likely that the chances of a mansion tax should be introduced are much diminished. The move has been widely welcomed by the property industry with experts saying it was long overdue. ‘The abolition of the archaic slab system will take the sting out of the tail for thousands of buyers on the lower rungs of the ladder. The new graduated system should help brighten the UK housing recovery in regions outside of London, where property prices are still battling back to pre-recession levels,’ said Peter Rollings, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons. But he pointed out that it will add to the weight of the tax burden shouldered by those buying more expensive homes. ‘In prime parts of London, where 56% of property is worth £1 million or more, this will impact a significant proportion of ordinary working families,’ he said. But he also said that he expects any additional strain on the top tiers of the housing market to be absorbed, and the natural rhythm of the property market won’t be disrupted as buyers investing in prime London property are accustomed to having to pay a higher price than elsewhere across the country and the unparalleled returns and capital growth on offer more than make it worthwhile, so demand won’t be quashed. ‘London property taxes have historically been cheaper compared to other world cities, so this overhaul brings it into line with rival global centres of investment and although, one-off purchase costs are always a bitter pill to swallow, it won’t deter people from snapping up their dream home in a desirable location. Buyers will soon adjust and it will simply become the norm,’ he added. Peter Mackie, senior partner at independent buying agents Property Vision, pointed out that the change will help 98% of people trying to get onto the property ladder but the impact of the changes will be greater at the lower end of the market where buyers rely on borrowed money, rather than the higher end where if a buyer can afford to pay cash for a £50 million house they can afford the Stamp Duty. ‘The increases in Stamp Duty over £1.5 million… Continue reading →
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