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Stamp duty surcharge welcomed by homeowners

More than twice as many people (47%) support the second home 3% stamp duty surcharge than oppose it (18%), according to a survey of homeowners.

The research conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance found the policy is seen to support first-time buyers and homes for living in.

Those in the South West, where there is a real shortage of affordable homes, are most in favour, with six in 10 (59%) supporting the change.
 
The government introduced a new 3% stamp duty surcharge on 1 April to be paid by those buying buy-to let properties and second homes. The move was met by loud opposition from landlord groups.
 
Supporters of the stamp duty surcharge on second homes believe the measures are a good way to level the playing field between those buying a home to live in and those making an investment purchase. 

One respondent to the survey said: “The buy-to-let market is slowly destroying the overall housing market and making affordable properties less available for those wanting to own a home as their principal place of residence.”
 
Some feel there has been a shortage of homes available for first-time buyers and this will make it harder for buy-to-let investors competing to purchase similar properties. 

There are some anti buy-to-let feelings and a sense that buy-to-let may have been inflating house prices and pricing out local residents in some areas. 

Some people also feel that those able to afford to buy a second home or to buy a property for the purpose of letting it out and making profit should be able to afford to pay higher stamp duty on their purchase.
 
Those who oppose the stamp duty surcharge on second homes suggest the policy could have unintended consequences such as the surcharge being passed on to tenants in the form of higher rent. Comments also indicate that they feel the government is making another tax grab or that the policy is anti-enterprise.
 
“I have been saving for some time (five years) to be able to afford to purchase an investment property. This change has now meant that it is not feasible for me to do so. It is unfair to penalise people who work hard and save,” said one respondent.
 
Stamp duty reforms introduced at the end of 2014 which replaced the slab structure of tax with a progressive stamp duty tax were also well-received with one third (33%) saying the reforms make buying their first home or moving up the ladder more affordable. 

Concern over stamp duty has also subsided substantially. The annual survey, which tracks top housing concerns, found in March 2014 that two-thirds of UK adults (64%) said stamp duty was a serious problem, whereas two years on, only half (52%) say stamp duty is a serious problem.
 
Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, said: “The British public believe that homes are for living in and not speculating with. The stamp duty surcharge might be bad for landlords but it will allow more young people to realise their dream of owning the roof over their head. This is why we initially called for the tax system to differentiate between aspiring homeowners and property investors. However, we must see the money raised ploughed back into building more affordable housing.”

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