UK calls for stamp duty reform to solve housing crisis
Nov 21, 2019 ~3 minute read

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A reduction in stamp duty holds the key to unlocking the housing crisis according to new research from retirement living provider Audley Group.

In a little over three weeks’ time the nation will take to the polls and solving the housing crisis remains a key election battleground. The research reveals a third (33%) of people in the UK believe a reduction in stamp duty would be the most effective policy in addressing housing shortages. Equally important to people are more initiatives to assist first time buyers (33%). However, interestingly greater support for older people who want to downsize (30%), and more suitable housing options for older people (30%) followed closely behind. An ever more pressing concern given the number of over 75s likely to double in the next 30 years1.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a generational divide. Younger age groups, those aged 18 – 34, are vastly more supportive of policies which would see more help for first time buyers, with 43% believing this would be most effective solution to fix housing shortages. Those over 55, disagree, and think that greater support for older homeowners who want to downsize their property (38%) would be the best way to solve the housing crisis.

Nick Sanderson, Audley Group CEO, commented:

“Support for first time buyers is the drum that is most often banged by political parties of all persuasions. And it’s important to voters too. But voters clearly understand that other initiatives are needed to really effect change. Reforms to stamp duty and incentives to support downsizing are not ground-breaking policies but they have the potential to revolutionise the UK housing market. Successive governments have focused purely on the first-time buyer market. It hasn’t worked; the country still finds itself in the grip of a housing crisis.

“We live in an era where the population is ageing. At present there is a chronic lack of properties for this population, and no incentive for people to leave homes that we too big for them to manage. Yes, we must build more, but crucially these must be high quality properties which can adapt to people’s evolving needs. Houses that older people want to move to, with incentives like a stamp duty reduction to support that move.

“The party that acknowledges this could be the one that solves the housing crisis, or at the very least starts to take steps in the right direction.”

Across the UK views on what will solve the housing crisis differ. Many of the regions in the North of the country prioritise greater support for first time buyers, but moving south reduction in stamp duty and greater support for older people who want to downsize take precedence.

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