Association president’s Budget response

PRESIDENT of the National Association of Estate Agents, Wendy Evans-Scott, has given her response to the Chancellor’s Budget.

She said: “This Budget week is proving to bring a double whammy for first time buyers: not only has the Chancellor failed to offer any real help to lower and middle income homeowners and First Time Buyers, but from Saturday, the Stamp Duty Holiday for FTBs will be coming to an end.

“Property is already over-taxed in the UK compared to other OECD countries* and instead of using the Budget as an opportunity for whole-scale reform of property taxation, the Chancellor has chosen to further tax property sales with the introduction of a 7% rate at the upper end of the market.

“The Budget was a chance for George Osborne to support the green shoots of recovery, but there is actually very little in today’s announcement to support the UK’s fragile property market. To get the market moving again homeowners across the whole market need the confidence to sell their homes, and First Time Buyers need encouragement to climb onto the property ladder. Today’s Budget provided neither.

“The Chancellor left the unfair ‘slab’ structure of Stamp Duty untouched, despite a strong case for reform. Stamp Duty distorts the housing market, and hits First Time Buyers the hardest. It is a tax on aspiration.”

The NAEA has consistently called for Stamp Duty Land Tax to be modernised, and in its pre-Budget submission it called on the Chancellor to move away from the current ‘slab’ structure and to create a fairer, more logical system.

Mrs Evans-Scott continued: “The dampening effect Stamp Duty has on the housing market recovery is recognised across the industry. With First Time Buyers struggling to purchase their first home, the Government should think imaginatively and consider a one-off stimulus, such as a First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit as used in the United States”.

*Recent figures show that the UK already has the highest property tax take of any OECD country (4.2% of GDP compared to the OECD average of 1.8%). Source: Centre for Policy Studies.