You are here: Home - News -

Stamp duty reform needed to cater for regional variation, Rightmove says

  • 28/02/2024
  • 0
Stamp duty reform needed to cater for regional variation, Rightmove says
Stamp duty has a “disproportionate effect” on some regions in England compared to others, with a more “localised approach” needed.

According to Rightmove, the percentage of properties for sale that are exempt from stamp duty for all buyers ranges from four per cent in London all the way up to 71 per cent in the North East.

The proportion of properties for sale exempt from stamp duty for first-time buyers goes from 28 per cent in London up to 91 per cent in the North East.


Region % of properties for sale exempt from stamp duty for all buyers % of properties for sale exempt from stamp duty for first-time buyers

East Midlands

43 per cent

82 per cent

East of England

22 per cent

62 per cent


4 per cent

28 per cent

North East

71 per cent

91 per cent

North West

51 per cent

82 per cent

South East

16 per cent

52 per cent

South West

25 per cent

66 per cent

West Midlands

41 per cent

79 per cent

Yorkshire and the Humber

55 per cent

85 per cent


Rightmove has said that a more “localised approach” to stamp duty that was aligned to regional prices would help more first-time buyers onto the property ladder and “encourage more movement up and down the ladder”.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “Stamp duty is a big barrier to moving, with some who would potentially consider a move likely put off by the hefty stamp duty tax in addition to other moving costs.

“At the very least, the government should be thinking about making the current changes to first-time buyer stamp duty charges permanent, with the higher thresholds introduced in 2022 due to expire next year. However, we think there is an opportunity to go a step further.”

He added: “With such regional variations in property prices, increasing stamp duty thresholds in line with these regional variations would seem a logical first step for stamp duty reform. Whilst longer-term supply measures are also needed, this could be one way to help first-time buyers trying to get onto the ladder in more expensive parts of England.”


Mortgage innovation should go beyond 99 per cent scheme

Rightmove has also called for further mortgage innovation with schemes that “go further and support a larger group of first-time buyers” than the proposed 99 per cent mortgage scheme.

The company said that figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE) reveal that only five per cent of mortgages currently taken out are 95 per cent loan to value (LTV) or higher, as most save up a larger deposit to benefit from a lower mortgage rate.

Matt Smith, Rightmove’s mortgage expert, said: “It’s been good to see innovation in the mortgage product space over the last couple of years, both from traditional lenders and more recently from new entrants.

“These new products have the good intention of helping renters who want to buy through supporting those with smaller deposits, or enhancing the amount a first-time buyer can borrow through access to longer term fixed rates – removing the stress test.”

He continued: “Each of these new innovations are working to ensure that lenders balance the need to be prudent and comply with complex regulations that govern their affordability criteria, whilst also increasing access to homeownership to more people.

“The proposal for a 99 per cent mortgage product will offer further support for those with smaller deposits, but it doesn’t address the issue of being able to pass an affordability stress test at eight per cent-plus whilst also being inside the four-and-a-half times loan to income (LTI) ratio.

“Whilst we support new solutions to help more first-time buyers, the 99 per cent LTV mortgage alone is only likely to support a relatively small group. More needs to be done to strike the right balance between supporting a bigger group of future first-time buyers, whilst maintaining robust affordability assessments.”


Better green home incentives needed

Following the government’s reversal on energy-efficiency measures for rental properties, Rightmove said that there has been a fall in landlords planning to make Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) improvements.

Around 36 per cent of landlords in 2022 said that they planned to make improvements to properties with an EPC rating of C or lower, however in 2023 this dropped to 26 per cent.

Rightmove called for better incentives, saying “more widely accessible grants or tax savings should be considered to help make rental homes greener for tenants”.

Christian Balshen, Rightmove’s lettings expert, said: “Due to the lack of available and accessible funding, many landlords aren’t in a financial position to be able to carry out major energy-efficiency upgrades to their properties.

“A further lack of clarity around potential future EPC regulations means we’ve seen a drop in the number of landlords who are actively deciding to make their properties greener.

“Ultimately, this will be to the detriment of tenants who are increasingly wanting to live in energy-efficient properties, and so we’d encourage any financial incentives that can be provided to landlords to improve the energy efficiency of the UK private rented sector (PRS).”

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in