Rumoured Changes To SDLT – Will They Be Welcomed?

Following some interviews with the press at the weekend, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has sent the rumour mill into over drive, as he suggested that he may announce reforms to stamp duty later this year.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 8th July, the Chancellor is due to unveil his latest measures as part of the UK’s coronavirus recovery.

Speculation is rife, with some media outlets claiming that stamp duty land tax reforms (SDLT) will result in a six month stamp duty holiday. Although, due to the property bounce back at the moment, if this measure is announced, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the date of implementation.

Another measure being speculated about is whether the SDLT threshold will be raised. Currently it applies to properties over £125,000. However, suggestions claim this could be increased to between £300,000 and £500,000.

Here at Today’s Conveyancer, we wanted to find out what this uncertainty meant for the market.

Tom Parkinson, Head of Property & Director at Rowlinsons Solicitors, said:

“If true, it would certainly be welcome news and one which would provide the property industry with a much needed shot in the arm.  That said, it seems that someone has perhaps spoken prematurely, and if a formal announcement isn’t made immediately, there will be much debate among buyers and sellers as to whether exchanges and completions should be delayed in the hope that SDLT savings can be made.  We have already this Monday morning received multiple requests from clients asking for their matters to be put on hold, pending more detail.  This type of uncertainty is clearly not good news for the market.”

Paul Sams, Partner at Dutton Gregory, said:

“I have had fifteen emails from clients this morning asking me about what I know about the proposed changes. Personally I think that a stamp duty change could help if done in the right way.  I don’t for one second suggest that this is the right way but given the huge demand on the rental market at present a cut to the higher rate of SDLT for landlords looking to purchase to let property might be a controversial but welcome solution to one of the issues facing housing as a home.  Some sort of mortgage guarantee backed by HMRC for lenders who loan at above 90% loan to value might have more benefit to the market though than SDLT changes.  Wednesday should reveal all!”

What are your thoughts?

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