Mixed reaction to new stamp duty surcharge
- Credit: PA
Twice as many people support the new stamp duty surcharge as oppose it - despite loud opposition from landlord groups, a recent survey shows.
It was introduced at the beginning of this month to be paid by those buying to let and second homes.
But it could push up rents, as rental properties become scarcer, according to industry insiders.
Supporters of the three percent stamp duty on second homes believe the measures are a positive way to level the playing field between those buying a home to live in and those making an investment purchase.
The ‘Homeowner 2016 Survey’ revealed 47 percent of those asked reckon it’s a great idea – while just 18 percent were less keen on the move.
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Concerns over stamp duty, generally, have fallen in recent years: public opinion during the 2014 government reform of the system, saw 64 percent of UK adults perceiving stamp duty as a serious problem. Just over half of UK adults (52 percent) were anti-stamp duty when asked in 2016.
The research was undertaken by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance. Almost half of UK adults (47 percent) supported the surcharge while 18 percent opposed it and the rest were neutral (20 percent) or didn’t know (15 percent).
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Those in opposition, fear that the policy could have unintended consequences, such as the surcharge being passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases.
Skeptics have suggested it’s a way of the government making another tax grab or that it discourages enterprise. One dissatisfied put-off would-be investment buyer said: “I have been saving for five years to be able to afford to purchase an investment property. This change has now meant that it is not feasible for me to do so. It is unfair to penalize people who work hard and save.”
Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, said: “The British public believe that homes are for living in and not speculating with. The stamp duty surcharge might be bad for landlords but it will allow more young people to realise their dream of owning the roof over their head.
“This is why we initially called for the tax system to differentiate between aspiring homeowners and property investors. However, we must see the money raised ploughed back into building more affordable housing.”
Yet Kim Vernau, chief executive officer of BLP Insurance recognises it could mean even more difficulties for those who are forced to rent. She said: “The downside is the fact that this impacts adversely on those who cannot afford to raise a deposit and have to rent. The increase in stamp duty land tax will deter both individuals and institutional investors from investing in the provision of long-term rental properties, which are needed to help unlock the housing crisis we are experiencing.”