With the budget about to be announced on 8th March, there has been much speculation as to what it may include. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) seems to be where the spotlight is pointed.
The last change to the threshold of SDLT was in 2006 to compensate for house price inflation. However, the average price of houses in the UK has since risen by around £50,000, from approximately £170,000 to £220,000 in 2016. As of today, in the 10 years since the last increase of the threshold, there is yet to be another.
The failure to raise the threshold for SDLT has resulted in a huge burden for first time buyers and those hoping to move up the property ladder. In 2006 just over 50% of first time buyers were struggling to find the additional money required to pay SDLT; today that percentage has risen to nearly 75% of first time buyers.
With many people now recognising this burden, it is possible a change could be in store. The Yorkshire Building Society has emphasised the scale of the problem saying that, without SDLT, first time buyers in the UK could save on average nearly £4,000, and in London potential average savings could exceed £13,000. John Stevenson MP has stated that he has “long been a supporter of changing who pays Stamp Duty”.
Whilst it is almost certain that SDLT will not be abolished, possible solutions have been suggested including raising the threshold, or more controversially, changing the person responsible for paying the tax to the seller rather than the buyer.