Homebuyers pay £1.5 billion more in Stamp Duty than a year earlier

12 June 2015

  • Homebuyers spent an estimated £7.7 billion1 on Stamp Duty in England and Wales in the year to March 2015
  • The average home owner spends nearly £10,000 on Stamp Duty in total as they move up the housing ladder
  • Homeowners in London who bought for the first time in 1999 will now, on average, have spent over £38,000 in Stamp Duty over their lifetime
  • Typical Stamp Duty bill for a third stepper has fallen by £2,500 (26%) over the past year due to December’s reform of the tax

The latest research from Lloyds Bank shows the Stamp Duty revenue raised in England and Wales increased by an estimated £1.5 billion to £7.7 billion in the year to March 2015; comfortably exceeding the £6.2 billion in the year to March 2008 at the peak of the last housing boom. In contrast, in the 12 months to March 1999, less than £1 billion was raised.

A higher number of residential property transactions and increased prices are estimated to have led to a significant rise in Stamp Duty revenues in the 12 months to March 2015, with the average homeowner now spending nearly £10,000 (£9,600) in total on Stamp Duty as they move up the housing ladder.

Homeowners stay in their homes for just under eight years (7.8 years) on average, and take three steps up the ladder in their lifetime3. Based on these findings, the research looked at those homeowners who bought their first property in 1999, their second in 2007 and their third in 2015, living in typical homes at each step on the ladder.

One in three first time buyers paid Stamp Duty in 1999. Now over two thirds pay

The proportion of first time buyers paying Stamp Duty has more than doubled over the past 16 years from 32% in 1999 to 66% in 2015. In London and the South East over nine in ten first time buyers now face paying Stamp Duty on their purchase. Table 3.

The proportion of homemovers paying Stamp Duty has risen from 68% in 1999 to 85% in 2015. In the southern regions of England more than nine out of ten homemovers now pay Stamp Duty on their purchase. See Table 4.

Stamp Duty bill for London homebuyers tops £38,000

The highest overall Stamp Duty costs are faced by buyers in London and the South East. In London home buyers pay four times as much as the average for England and Wales (£38,600). In the South East the lifetime cost is £22,800.

The lowest lifetime Stamp Duty costs are in Wales which, at an average of £3,800, are less than 40% of the England and Wales average. Homeowners in the North and East Midlands (both £4,000) and Yorkshire and the Humber (£4,500) face the next lowest Stamp Duty charges.

Third steppers face an average Stamp Duty bill of £7,400 vs. £9,900 last year

Based on regional average house prices for typical first time buyer homes in 1999, Stamp Duty was only a factor for those first time in London and the South East. By the time these people were ready to move on to their next home (in 2007), the average Stamp Duty for their new property had risen to £2,283. In May 2015, those buyers moving on to their "final" home faced an average Stamp Duty bill of £7,400. This is £2,500 (26%) lower than in May 2014.  See table 1 for details.

The decline in Stamp Duty is due to the reforms that were implemented last December. Under the new progressive structure of Stamp Duty no tax is paid on any of the value of a property below the starting threshold of £125,000. Above the first threshold, tax is charged at the relevant rate on the amount by which the selling price exceeds the threshold. This is continued through the various thresholds to the top rate. The ‘tipping point’ price is £938,000, at which point the buyer is worse off under the new structure. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of home buyers pay less Stamp Duty under the new regime.

Nitesh Patel, Housing Economist at Lloyds Bank, said:

“The average homebuyer now pays almost £10,000 during their life as they make their way up the housing ladder. The welcome reforms to Stamp Duty announced by the Chancellor last December have helped to reduce Stamp Duty bills for the overwhelming majority of homebuyers and movers. However, as these figures show, the overall revenue raised with Stamp Duty actually increased by £1.5 billion in the year to March 2015.”

If 1999 Stamp Duty levels increased with house prices, the starting point would now be £155,000

If the Stamp Duty thresholds in 1999 were raised in line with the increase in the average house price since then (159%), they would be significantly higher than they are today. The 0% rate would have more than doubled from £60,000 to £155,000 (currently £125,000), whilst the £250,000 threshold would be increased to £648,000. 

Stamp Duty accounts for 23% of all moving costs

Stamp Duty accounts for almost a quarter of the costs of buying a home. The average cost of moving home in the UK stood at £8,689 in 2014; 5% higher than £8,258 in 2013. The total amount spent on moving in 2014 was £7.5 billion.