There are many opinions on what can be done to improve the UK property market and a growing amount of attention is falling on the significance of the elderly in the market. The UK has an ageing population, and as well as the economy and the healthcare sector, the fact that people are living for longer creates pressures in the property market.
It transpires that many people over the age of 65 would be keen to downsize from their current property to a smaller property but are struggling to find suitable or affordable property. One suggestion that has been floated is that stamp duty could be removed for elderly people downsizing into a smaller property.
In recent years, stamp duty has been amended to impact on landlords and investors buying additional property and for first-time buyers looking to step on to the property ladder. It is therefore not out of the question to consider that stamp duty changes may be applied to elderly people.
There needs to be movement in the market
If elderly people can downsize their property, paying a more affordable fee to buy a suitable property, there could be a greater amount of property on the market for people looking for a bigger home. In turn, if people can move up in the property market, the home that they leave behind can be used to welcome first-time buyers or downsizers. This would stimulate movement and spending in the property market, hopefully benefitting the market and allowing more people to buy the property that best suits their needs.
A recent study by an equity release adviser suggests that 63% of estate agents believe that the removal of stamp duty for property buyers making their final purchase would be a sensible move. The same study found that 32% of property owners classed as elderly state that stamp duty is a barrier to their movement.
Other solutions must be introduced to aid market movement
However, it is important to be aware that while close to one-third of relevant respondents suggested that the current stamp duty charge for elderly movers is a barrier, it isn’t the only barrier to movement. It may be that the removal of stamp duty for elderly homeowners moving creates some movement in the market but not as much as would be hoped for.
Given the number of challenges in the property market, it would be wrong to assume that one new feature or solution would solve every problem in the market. However, there is a need for a range of solutions to be introduced to the market and there is no denying that adjusting stamp duty could lead to a more positive outcome in the market if other solutions are unveiled alongside this decision.
No matter what your position in the property market is, if you are looking for support and guidance with your next move, contact Williams of Petersfield. We are pleased to say we have helped many local clients move home and we look forward to assisting you.