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Property sellers should pay buyers’ stamp duty, says building society

Property sellers should take on the burden of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to help those trying to buy their first home, the Yorkshire Building Society has suggested.

The recommendation follows research that now nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of first-time buyers pay SDLT, compared to just over half (53 per cent) in 2006.

The building society, which caters to around 3 million members, claimed that the average first-time buyer could save £3,625 on each transaction, while those in London would save some £13,171.

Stamp Duty is charged on properties worth more than £125,000, starting at two per cent before gradually increasing to a maximum of 12 per cent on any portion of a property worth more than £1.5 million.

The threshold was last amended in 2006 to align with inflation, but house prices have since soared 35 per cent.

Andrew McPhillips, Yorkshire Building Society chief economist, said: “In its present form, stamp duty does not suit today’s housing market – it pushes up costs for those looking to buy, exacerbating affordability issues in a market where prices have vastly outpaced wage growth.

“Levying the charge against sellers rather than buyers will help to reduce costs for first-time buyers, helping more people to get on the property ladder.

“It would also help those moving up the property ladder, enabling them to move to a more suitable property and potentially freeing up smaller homes for first-time buyers to purchase.”

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, added: “I have long been a supporter of changing who pays stamp duty on house sales. At present it penalises first time buyers and those aspiring to move up the housing ladder. I have and will continue to make representations to Government regarding such a change appearing in this year’s budget.”

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