Will Herrmann Responds: Increasing the Stamp Duty for Overseas Buyers

As part of her speech at the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May proposed increasing the Stamp Duty for overseas buyers as a way to combat rough sleeping. 

While the sentiment is a noble one, this is yet another layer of punitive tax on property transactions that will prevent investment and increase the cost of living, as those who do invest look for another way to secure their returns. It’s also not likely to work. 

Research published by PrimeResi has revealed that £4.6 billion has been lost to the UK economy in taxes and business revenue since the changes made to the Stamp Duty in December 2014 - £1.9 billion of which would have gone directly to the Treasury. That is money lost to the aether that could have been shared by the initiative’s the Government is trying to fund with an increased Stamp Duty. 

Personally, I agree with the piece’s proposed alternative that the market would benefit from a 50 per cent cut in SLDT rates across the board, bringing the top rate down toward the levels seen in 2007, when London volumes were over 95 per cent higher than they are today.

Dominic Philcox