Stamp duty cut 'fails to entice first-time buyers', survey suggests

The Chancellor's decision to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers has so far had a limited impact on the housing market, new research suggests.

22 Jan 2018

The Chancellor’s decision to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers has so far had a limited impact on the housing market, new research suggests.

In a survey carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), 86% of respondents said they had not seen an increase in first-time buyer enquiries since the changes to stamp duty were announced in November’s Budget.

Latest figures show that activity in the housing market actually fell in December, although RICS acknowledged that this could be partly due to the time of year.

Since 22 November 2017 first-time buyers paying £300,000 or less for a residential property are exempt from paying stamp duty land tax.

When asked to consider the likely impact on the housing market over the coming months, 66% of those questioned said the measure would have ‘little consequence’, while 12% expected the change to have a positive effect.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, said: ‘The initial feedback from the market doesn’t suggest that the change in the stamp duty regime announced in the Budget is going to have a material impact on activity.

‘Indeed, the risk was always that a good portion of the benefit would be capitalised in the price, therefore limiting the benefit for the first-time buyer.’

However, while many property experts are expecting sales to remain weak over the coming three months, the picture for the rest of 2018 is looking more positive, with activity predicted to gain momentum across all regions during the rest of the year.

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