For once, buyers, sellers and estate agents and most people in property are aligned. Everyone is suffering with the 70% increase in the highest band of Stamp Duty Land Tax. However – more significantly for the country as a whole – it is Her Majesty’s Treasury which is really feeling the sting. I am accounted for 48% of SDLT receipts. The Chancellor’s giveaways to buyers sub £1 million are now costing an arm and a leg as the planned increase in revenues from the capital has not only failed to materialise, but has dried up as sales volumes have failed to materialise, but has tried up as sales volumes have fallen significantly. The Nationwide building society has recently estimated that the SDLT receipts for the first six months of 2015 are down £275 million on the previous year’s figures. The full year figures are going to be an embarrassment to Mr Osborne.
There is also a trickle-down effect that could be catastrophic for London as property becomes simply too expensive to buy, with casual effects on social mobility and the international jobs market-place that London has become. It has not gone unnoticed by our media and press corps that the super-rich are not even concerned with the 12% rate – they are happy to hide their identities by paying the 15% rate through offshore vehicles and the like (as it happens this now under examination as well). A serious look needs to be taken at the SDLT structure. Osborne needs to conjure up some new ideas that sensibly tackle this immensely important topic in a financially responsible fashion.