Is an SDLT cut imminent, or is it just political games?

The headlines have all recently been taken by the Conservative leadership battle, but in a bid to throw off the impending sense of doom that has only arisen because of the sorry prospect of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt being the next Prime minister, Boris has pledged to make a significant cut to Stamp Duty Land Tax should he enter Number 10.

 

It is difficult as yet to see whether this is a “Brexit bus” style promise that won’t (or can’t) be fulfilled, but SDLT being scrapped on all residential purchases of less than £500,000 would surely help to stimulate the property market that has fallen by approximately 20% in Greater London in the last 5 years.

 

Such a change would not just benefit first time buyers (who currently have an SDLT threshold of £300,000) but so-called “second steppers”, i.e. those selling their first home and upgrading to something bigger for the first time.

 

The average property price in the UK is less than £250,000, so a change like this would benefit a huge proportion of buyers throughout the UK.  As one would expect, the top end of the SDLT rates are already expected to decrease, with the top band of SDLT being reduced from 12% to 7%.

 

Quite how this is intended to be funded remains unclear, and so the concern will remain that this is nothing more than an empty promise designed to gain votes (after all, we’re still waiting for the £350m a week to the NHS), but should it come to pass then this change to the SDLT regulations would hopefully further kick-start a London property market which is only now showing the first signs of recovery from the panic and hesitation which has been evident since the EU referendum more than 3 years ago.

 

If you are looking to buy or sell a property, please contact Andy Roscoe at Meaby & Co for advice: andy@meaby.co.uk or call 020 7703 5034.