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Stamp duty reform essential to help FTBs: YBS

  • 02/03/2017
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Stamp duty reform essential to help FTBs: YBS
Yorkshire Building Society has called for Stamp Duty to be reformed in the Budget next week, arguing that it is currently preventing first-time buyers from purchasing property.

It highlighted figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) which revealed that just 26% of first-time buyers bought properties worth less than the Stamp Duty threshold of £125,000. This marks a significant drop since 2006, when almost half of first-time buyers avoided stamp duty on their first property purchase.

Yorkshire highlighted that the £125,000 threshold has not changed since 2006, and that with house prices rising 35% over that time period, far more homes will now be subject to the tax.

The mutual argued that the tax should be revamped so that it is instead paid by sellers rather than purchasers, which would help first-time buyers across the nation save more than £3,500.

Andrew McPhillips, chief economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said that in its present form Stamp Duty only pushes up costs for those looking to buy, exacerbating affordability issues.

He continued: “Levying the charge against sellers rather than buyers will help to reduce costs for first-time buyers, helping more people to get on the property ladder. It would also help those moving up the property ladder, enabling them to move to a more suitable property and potentially freeing up smaller homes for first-time buyers to purchase.”

The campaign has the support of John Stevenson, the Conservative MP for Carlisle. He said: “At present [stamp duty] penalises first time buyers and those aspiring to move up the housing ladder. I have and will continue to make representations to Government regarding such a change appearing in this year’s budget.”

In February, Barclays launched a mortgage where the lender commits to pay the stamp duty bill of first-time buyers.

Last year the Treasury collected £8.2bn in stamp duty receipts from property sales, up by 18% on 2015.

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