April 2016 saw the latest in a line of recent Stamp Duty Changes
People buying an additional property will now have to pay an extra 3% to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
The Stamp Duty Changes will see the duty payable on a property selling for £350,000 increasing from £7,500 to £18,000. The increase will obviously hit hardest where property is more expensive, for instance in London. The average freehold price of a home here is around £530,000, which would incur a duty of more than £32,000.
This follows other adjustments in recent times, such as the minimum threshold being raised from £60,000 to £120,000 in in 2005, and a further increase to £125,000 in 2006. The latest adjustment to the Stamp Duty Rates is intended to make the market fairer for first-time buyers and reduce what is viewed as the competition for properties between them and landlords in the buy-to-let industry.
So who Does it affect?
Remember that the new change only affects those buying an additional property, not those buying to replace their main residence. The term ‘additional properties’ refers to any property that is not the owner’s main residence, for example a holiday home, a buy-to-let property or a home for the use of a relative.
Even if the buyer only owns a share of a property, the charge will still apply to any additional property. This even applies to buyers owning even a share of a property overseas, but are first-time buyers in the UK. For those wishing to enter or continue with the buy-to-let business, this increase will need to be factored in when considering when or where to expand. And how much rent to charge.
So How Does it work?
Stamp Duty, as with Income Tax, works on a sliding scale, so the more income earned, or the more paid for a property, so the more tax is liable. The rate for additional properties is 3% below the £125,000 threshold, rising to 5% and ending at its maximum of 15% for properties above £1.5 million. See our Stamp Duty Calculator for a quick and easy way to see how much extra additional buyers would need to budget for.
The increase will not apply to anyone who already owns a second or more properties, who sells their main residence and replaces it. Those moving from their main residence and buying another will, initially, be liable for the 3% surcharge, but if the original residence is sold within three years, replacing the former limit of 18 months, the extra duty is refunded in full. This can be a considerable amount and something that any competent solicitor or conveyancing company should be aware of.
Why the Stamp Duty Changes?
The aim of the surcharge for additional homes is clearly intended to help first-time buyers, and encourage people to get a foot on the property ladder, but at a cost to those in the buy-to-let business. But these people, many of whom operate perfectly fairly and legitimately, are also offering a valuable service to people on lower incomes, and many have argued whether they deserve to be penalised.