The property law firm Collyer Bristow has echoed the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) call for a stamp duty holiday to kick-start a stalled housing market, but warns that swift action is needed to prevent further inaction.
Janet Armstrong-Fox, partner and head of private client property at Collyer Bristow, said: “The residential market is all but at a standstill and will remain so until the current restrictions are lifted. Even then, a slow return to a buoyant market is predicted. Clearly something is needed to kick-start the housing market. We echo the RICS call for a stamp duty relaxation, not just for first time buyers but for those moving up the housing ladder.
“We recognise that this will be a sizeable challenge for government: stamp duty has been a cash cow for HMRC coffers and will come at a time when it will be looking to increase tax revenues following the extensive support offered throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
“Whilst a stamp duty holiday is unlikely, a reduced rate for a set period of time for homes under a £500,000 threshold, and perhaps even higher in London, would provide the stimulus needed to reignite the market.
“We would urge the government to act swiftly in introducing any relaxation of the stamp duty regime as the rumours of such a move may further dampen the housing market with buyers and sellers waiting for fear of missing out on some impending relaxation.”