Latest figures from HMRC indicate that there has been a 5% fall in the number of transactions commanding Stamp Duty during the opening quarter of 2017, in comparison to the same period in 2016.
That is unsurprising, given that the opening quarter of 2016 saw a surge of investors looking to purchase before the additional 3% of Stamp Duty was enforced in April.
This said, the estimated receipts from Stamp Duty in Q1 2017 is £1,995m from residential transaction-16% greater than the previous year, despite a fall in sales.
The number of transactions valued between £250,000 and £500,000 slipped by 10% during the period. However, the number of ‘high Stamp Duty’ transactions during the opening three months of the year (those for homes over £500,000) fell by 14%.
This amounted a total of 22,600-the lowest quarterly figures for two years.
16% rise in Stamp Duty cash, despite transaction falls
Shaun Church, director of the mortgage broker Private Finance, said: ‘The statistics make it clear that the upper-end of the market has unfairly borne the brunt of … tax reform. A healthy property market needs movement and fluidity at all levels and across all tenures, but it appears that the changes have unfairly targeted the upper-end of the market which does little to help the cause of first-time buyers.’
Matt Robinson, chief executive at the Nested Agency, also noted: ‘The government’s strategy of raking in yet more money from SDLT is working well for them but the result is a near failure for the health of the market. The liquidity of homes in London has slowed to a worrying level and with a snap election just weeks away, the normally busy spring market is bound to suffer further uncertainty.’