Stamp duty holiday has affected house prices in town

A large majority of houses and bungalows have been sold recently

A large majority of houses and bungalows have been sold recently - Credit: Getty Images

Since I started writing this column a year ago I have tried to cover a wide variety of local topics. This week is no different and I’m going to start by looking at the property market and the changes to stamp duty. 

The big news was the ending of the stamp duty holiday on October 1. The holiday was introduced in July 2020 to help home buyers during the pandemic. It was subsequently extended. Apparently it has resulted in £3bn being saved by property buyers. There is no doubt that in towns like Sidmouth the holiday has been a factor in the sharp price rises we have seen over the past 18 months. It has certainly had an effect on the local workforce who are finding it increasingly difficult to find a home to rent or buy. This, along with other factors, has resulted in skills shortages in the tourism and hospitality sectors in particular. This was highlighted by the Office for National Statistics this week. We are now back to the previous levels of stamp duty. None is due up to £125,000, 2% is paid between £125,000 and £250,000, 5% is paid between £250,001 and £925,000, 10% is paid between £925,001 and £1.5m and 12% is paid over £1.5m. You must add a further 3% to these levels if you are buying an additional property. First time buyers do not pay stamp duty up to £300,000. So for someone buying a house at £250,000 the stamp duty is £2,500. For someone buying at £500,000 the stamp duty is £15,000. For someone buying at £750,000 it is £27,500. For someone buying at £1m it is £43,750 and for someone buying at £1.5m it is £93,750! These are obviously big numbers and there is talk that The Treasury might reform stamp duty. It will be interesting to see what The Chancellor of the Exchequer says in his budget later on this month.

Looking at the properties that are on the market at present it appears that the large majority of houses and bungalows have been sold recently. I cannot actually remember a time when such a high percentage had buyers. Those with chains will hope that vendors can find a property to move to. It is also likely that a good number of the properties marked Sold STC on the internet did actually complete before September 30.

Away from property it will soon be time to get on the walking boots again and start to explore the wonderful countryside we have around us. I will try to recommend some good local walks of varying lengths over the forthcoming weeks. Autumn is a great time for walking as the leaves start to change colour and the views take on a completely different perspective. I have read many articles recently about the benefits of walking and I strongly recommend getting out there and exploring. It doesn’t have to be a long hike.

On the subject of walking I watched the first couple of episodes of the new walking show on BBC 2 that I was interviewed for. It featured five walkers from Devon who were from very different backgrounds and it was interesting to watch. Let’s just say I can see why they didn’t pick me! Tree hugging on Exmoor and sea kayaking off Ilfracombe would not be on my list of chosen activities!

On the sporting front Sidmouth rugby club 1st XV had an away win at Old Patesians last Saturday with a 13-18 scoreline. Exeter racecourse had their first meeting this week and the recent rain will have been welcomed. The big Autumn race there is the Haldon Gold Cup which is due to be run on November 2. Exeter City have started to put a decent run of performances together but will have been disappointed to be held to a 2-2 draw by Walsall last Saturday. This week they face a trip to Stevenage.

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