Skip to main content

Property sales plummet after stamp duty changes, says HMRC

25 May 2016

The number of UK properties sold fell by 45% between March and April as stamp duty changes came into effect, according to official figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Since 1 April 2016, those buying an additional property, such as a second home or a buy-to-let, have been required to pay an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge. This led to a rush to bring forward property purchases before the surcharge was introduced, and March saw a record high of 164,400 transactions.

By contrast, just 94,370 properties in total were sold in April, and the number of residential properties sold - 84,280 - was the lowest for three years. Compared to April last year, the number of transactions was down by 14.5%.

The stamp duty surcharge for second homes was announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 Autumn Statement. It is expected to boost Treasury coffers by some £1 billion by the year 2021, but there have been many critics of the change, who argue that the measure will damage investment in property.

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: ‘A 45% month-on-month drop in transactions is a powerful testament to how Government reform can alter forecasts and sway public attitude.

‘Whilst the spike in March more than makes up for the fall in April, what is worrying is that this dip is not just the consequence of buy-to-let landlords and second homeowners clearing transactions ahead of April. It’s also the result of people trying to find their bearings, preferably even trying to stay away from the market as Brexit speculation grows louder.

‘The Chancellor, in efforts to sway voters to stay, has predicted economic shock and plummeting house prices in the event of the UK leaving the EU, while others believe falling house prices could be a good thing. Either way, the uncertainty is stagnating the market. This is likely to continue well into June, with transactions picking up once there is greater clarity on the UK’s direction.’

100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee

At Arlington we love what we do. As proof of this, our staff will do everything to ensure that you receive the best, most reliable and professional service on the market.


Happy Clients

  • "Arlington offer sound business advice and have helped us to increase our turnover this year, whilst reducing our tax bill."
    Mr J McGillivray JM Yachting Limited.
  • "A big thank you to David and the rest of the team at Arlington. Always friendly and reliable. My accounts are dealt with quickly and efficiently and most importantly accurately. Something that wasn't happening when I was tying to produce them myself."
    Mr A Gilchrist Warrior Contracting Limited
  • "With our company growing, we are always getting into various situations where Arlington Accountants are always happy to offer us advice and guide our business to ensure more profits and lower tax payable".
    A. Elber - Director - Circuit Clubbing
  • "Its important to us to have the same people dealing with our affairs from one year to the next. Arlington Accountants take a very personal approach and offer great money saving advice."
    J Sheen - Director - Hambrook Holiday Park Limited
  • "Give Arlington a call now, you will not be wasting your time. They will improve your tax affairs and help you to change your mindset and lifestyle sooner than you think is possible".
    A. Elber - Director - Circuit Clubbing

View our client testimonials