‘Punitive’ SDLT on expensive homes has triggered slump in sales and tax revenues, data reveals

The latest data unveiled by the Land Registry has revealed that sales of residential properties worth £1.5million or more fell dramatically last year, while the total amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) collected by the Treasury fell by more than £400m as a result.

According to the figures, high-end property sales fell by almost 40 per cent, leading to a reduced SDLT take of £440m.

Industry bodies have criticised former Chancellor George Osborne’s controversial SDLT changes introduced in 2014 – which see SDLT bills rise significantly for those purchasing homes worth £1m or more.

The news comes at a time when Chancellor Philip Hammond is facing increasing pressure from property bodies to reverse the reforms in his forthcoming Budget.

Since Osborne’s changes took effect, those buying a property for £1.5m have faced an additional £18,750 in SDLT.

But property bodies, estate agents and MPs alike claim that the reforms, coupled with post-Referendum uncertainty, have deterred buyers from purchasing expensive properties and caused the top end of the market to ‘stall’ significantly.

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg described Osborne’s “punitive” reforms as “politics of envy” and suggested that they had failed, as they raised significantly less money for the Treasury in 2016.

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