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Is there any truth behind the stamp duty rumours?

According to a recent article in The Sun, buy to let landlords are on the verge of facing another hike in stamp duty. What are the chances of this going ahead? Jeni Browne, Sales Director offers her opinion…

Another rise? Sigh. Rumour has it that buy to let landlords could be facing another hike in Stamp Duty, in addition to the 3% surcharge that came into effect in April 2016. This comes from political writer James Forsyth’s column in The Sun, who revealed that this is one of the options being considered to help raise money ahead of the Autumn Budget.

Aside from the obvious reason of increased revenue to HMRC, I simply cannot understand how there could be a justification for a further surcharge on stamp duty.

The buy to let market has certainly cooled since the original surcharge was introduced by George Osborne a couple of years ago, with the number of buy to let mortgage applications reducing over this period, so to dress this up as a measure to ease the housing crisis lacks any real credibility. If we keep hitting those who provide stock for the Private Rental Sector, the end effect could be incredibly damaging.

Our CEO David Whittaker was asked to submit a comment to trade press in response to this news. Here’s what he had to say:

“For a long time now landlords have propped up our broken housing market which successive governments have had neither the brains nor the courage to fix. A further hike in stamp duty aimed at the sector really would be the straw that broke the camel's back and could result in landlords exiting the market in their droves. This would be disastrous for the country. It might peg house prices back a bit but it would hurt those in the rented sector more and could lead to an increase in homelessness.”

Like you, I sincerely hope this doesn’t progress any further and remains nothing more than a ‘rumour’. I for one can’t see how the government could justify an increase, but we will of course keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about changes in the market please feel free to give us a call on 0345 345 6788. We are always happy to offer our opinion.

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