Industry thumbs up for £2m Stamp Duty band

Almost two-thirds of property and mortgage finance professionals at a debate last week on the state of the housing market gave the thumbs up to the government’s introduction of a Stamp Duty tax band for properties valued at more than £2m.

The findings came out of The HSBC Great Housing Market Debate, hosted by PR guru John Wriglesworth in London last week. There were some 100 people in attendance, with the audience largely comprising lenders, developers and trade bodies.

Questions were then fired at the debate’s panel of experts – Moneybox presenter Paul Lewis, BBC economics editor Hugh Pym, Peter Dockar, head of mortgages at HSBC, Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon mortgages, and Yolande Barnes, director of residential research at Savills.

As part of the debate, the audience was polled on their views and it was from this that the sympathetic response to the government’s taxing of £2m property buyers was elicited. Some 62% thought the government was right to introduce the threshold compared with 38% who weren’t keen.

Wriglesworth says: “I was surprised by the result – there are obviously more socialist people in property than I thought. I would have thought that many people in that room would have had vested interests in anything that penalised the rich.”

But he adds that the general mood of the room was that Stamp Duty as a tax needed reform to avoid the market distortions that the individual bands currently create.