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Calls for stamp duty reform to encourage down-sizing

The calls for Stamp Duty Land Tax reform continue in the wake of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, with campaigners hoping that he will deliver on previous suggestions of dramatic changes to the stamp duty thresholds and rates.

The housing market across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK has not been particularly vibrant for some time now, and while many will point to Brexit uncertainty, others maintain that the current stamp duty obligations are a major hurdle for many would be home movers. In particular, experts say that high stamp duty tax bills take away any incentive for older property owners to down-size, freeing up a larger property, and injecting a bit of movement into a property market largely underpinned by first time buyers and new build properties.

Property prices in Northern Ireland rarely reach the same dizzy heights as they do in parts of England, so the impact of stamp duty is not as substantial for someone considering down-sizing to a smaller property. In England however, stamp duty bills reach thousands of pounds, and added together with the estate agency and legal costs, it can add up to a large bill that negates the benefit of selling and moving to a lower value property.

The Prime Minister has previously suggested shifting the burden of stamp duty to the seller, which would again hit any property owners considering down-sizing, as they would be paying the higher amount on the property they are leaving. It would take a significant change to the thresholds and rates of stamp duty to create the kind of impact that campaigners are looking for.

If you are buying, selling or remortgaging a property in Northern Ireland and require a conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal process for you contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.

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