Friday, 22 June 2012


As regular readers know I'm in the process of trying to move house. Despite being in an area of the South East where house prices have generally held up, as demonstrated by the rapid increase of new builds in my area, the market in my case is somewhat slow - and for one good reason, according to my feedback from estate agents - fucking stamp duty.

Now, I'm not moving house because I want to nor necessarily for profit - I love my current house - it's a necessity. Sadly Mrs TBF is struggling, due to health reasons to make the stairs and very soon it will no longer be an option. A move to a single story property is therefore essential.

The difficulty is my house comes over the £250,000 (3%) threshold but not worth enough not to be a problem. Wonderful. That results in potential buyers being very reluctant to pay the significant duty increase in order to purchase my house - thus stalemate. This has ultimately distorted the market - making my house too cheap or too expensive. There are, of course, ways of navigating around this which unintentionally puts me into more murky territory than Jimmy Carr, through no fault of my own. Thus I couldn't agree with Martin Lewis more:
I hate stamp duty. It’s not that I object to a tax on purchasing property. It’s this distortive tax that has absurd cliff hangers meaning an extra penny on a house’s price can cost thousands.
So when Osborne talks about more aggressive measures on stamp duty avoidance in a populist attempt to clamp down on the rich using loopholes there seems to be silence when it comes to those who aren't so well off and are forced to 'avoid the tax' as a necessity. And at the same time he wants to try to promote a strategy for growth - not moving because of 3% surely equals 0%?

He hasn't a clue.


  1. Have you investigated the possibility of a through-floor lift? Before my wife became completely wheelchair bound, we investigated the options, and getting adaptations done turned to be cheaper than moving from a semi to a vaguely comparable bungalow would have been.

  2. How about a house swap?
    There might be someone out there in a similar position to you but in reverse as it were.

  3. I am in exactly the same position only the next band up, I also need to move for the same reasons as you, stamp duty also causes a conflict of interest in the properties value as all estate agents want to sell and they will push even after valuing above the threshold to have you accept a lower price and come in under the threshold meaning you potentially lose thousands simply to facilitate a sale , obviously all properties in your bracket do not not stop at 249.999 so anything over that and it can be quite a sum is expected to be waived so that a sale goes through.

  4. BF - also living in the SE, I sympathise with your situation. The fact is, Stamp Duty as it is currently levied, is a tax that impacts far more on us southerners than many other parts of the country simply because house prices here are so much higher.

    May I suggest you deny The Chancellor your money, as well as the Estate Agent, and instead invest in a Stannah Stairlift.

    Successive Governments' greed in over taxing household mobility is having exactly the same effect as their greed in overtaxing petrol - it is killing the economy.

  5. @Anon, Thanks, we did consider that and other solutions, however it's not just the stairs, but whole host of other potential problems - access to the car, the garden, wider doors needed etc. An opportunity arose for a new build where we could get all the adaptations in place rather cheaply so we thought we'd go for it...just selling mine is proving to be the problematic bit :-(

    @Williams, thanks not considered that, will have a look into it.

    @wiggiatlarge Exactly, and dead right about estate agents...

    @DeeDee99 Re: Stannah Stairlift see my answer to Anon. Agree with your other points...too many in Government don't live in the real world - our own Chancellor has never had a proper no wonder he has little comprehension of how 'us folk out here live'. We're in a double dip recession for a reason - and it ain't the Eurozone crisis

  6. I hope that you are able to find a buyer soon and best wishes to Mrs TBF too.

    Dee Dee

    Stannah stairlifts can help with senior moments too. They have just brought out a high speed model which will get you to the top of the stairs before you have forgotten why you went there.

  7. Thanks Edward Spalton, your comment is much appreciated. See you soon ;-)