Property experts predict a change in how stamp duty is paid as part of a bid to boost the residential property market in the UK.

Following the Brexit vote last year, the UK has seen European neighbours catch up in terms of property sales and residential property transactions in London are down 14% compared to last year. In light of this, there is strong concern within the industry that the UK residential market may hit a wall if the Chancellor of the Exchequer does nothing to boost these numbers.

But now there are murmurs that in an effort to shake things up and provoke a surge in the market that the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, will change it so sellers, not buyers, will pay stamp duty. It is expected this news may be imminent as he is set to present the autumn budget on November 22.

 “If the Chancellor does nothing to boost the market then it may stagnate and he’ll be feeling the pressure to make changes,” says Ian Peach, Partner and Head of Residential Property at law firm Coffin Mew. “Residential property transactions are down around 14% nationally compared to last year and we’re running into a traditionally quieter period.

 “The Government is dependent on the income from Stamp Duty so I don’t think it will be scrapped altogether, but I would not be surprised if the liability was switched from buyers to sellers.  This would break from tradition and would be seen as a radical change, but one that could breathe life into a slowing market.”

 He also predicts the stamp duty will be scrapped for first-time buyers as part of a bid to attract younger voters – something the Conservatives have been chasing after unsuccessfully for some time. Peach says: “The chancellor may also look to ease tax liability for higher value properties as this section of the market has slowed the most, and I predict a measure to help older homeowners downsize by removing stamp duty for these potential movers.”

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