L&G chief: Waive stamp duty for older borrowers

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Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson has argued older borrowers should not have to pay stamp duty as part of efforts to unblock the housing market.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Wilson cites research carried out jointly by L&G and the Centre for Economic and Business Research which suggests that homeowners aged over 55 with two or more unused bedrooms account for £820bn of property.

The research also estimates that of this group, 3.3 million homeowners want to downsize in future.

Wilson argues these so-called “last-time buyers” are key to unlocking housing supply.

As well delivering integrated housing policy with health and social care, Wilson wants to see more options for last-time buyers with homes available on a freehold, shared equity and rented basis. He also suggests a version of the Help to Buy scheme for last-time buyers would help ease blockages in the market.

He adds tax measures could also play a role in getting more people moving.

He says: “We need to cut transaction costs to incentivise right-sizing.

“The changes to stamp duty could be extended further, with full relief on all home purchases by those over a certain age.

“It would be cost-neutral. Older people would pay no stamp duty for right-sizing, but younger people buying homes that would otherwise not have been available would drive increased stamp duty receipts.”

Wilson adds other tax measures could include a three-year “council tax holiday” for new retirement homes, which could be partially offset by VAT.