After years of “will they, won’t they” rumours and much lobbying from the property industry, finally we have something to talk about as far as Stamp Duty is concerned.

This afternoon the Chancellor announced a complete overhaul of a tax he described as “one of our worst designed and most damaging of all taxes”.

So out goes the much criticised and outdated slab system which caused bunching and distortions in the market, making way for a more progressive system which has always seemed much more sensible.

This works in much the same way as income tax so buyers will now only pay the rates proportionate to that banding rather than on the whole amount. In essence, this means that many buyers will from midnight tonight, yes it comes in quick, suddenly have some more cash in their pocket.

The new Stamp Duty bandings are as follows :-

0% up to £125,000
2% up to £250,000
5% up to £925,000
10% up to £1.5m
12% above this

For example someone purchasing at £550,000 will now pay £17,500 rather than £22,000, cash which can be better used elsewhere.

The kicker however, is for those looking to purchase at higher levels. So someone purchasing at £1.5m for example, will now pay £93,750 rather than £75,000 which will undoubtedly hit those in London and the South East harder.

For those looking at imminent purchases there is a handy calculator on the Governments website here :

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

Of course, it could be argued that by hiking the percentage charged on high-end properties this is a much more preferable option than the much derided “Mansion Tax”, moving it to a purchase tax rather than an ownership tax. This now makes it politically difficult for the opposition to introduce a Mansion Tax as there could be a question of double charging.

As ever, the key will be what effect this has on the housing market as a whole, hopefully encouraging people to move or buy for the first time with the extra saving. Whilst those at the top end may be left cursing once again, for many this will be a welcome boon to those looking to purchase in the future.

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