ILC welcomes extension of stamp duty but calls for more action to solve the housing crisis

Responding to the Budget announced today’s, Prof Les Mayhew, Global Head of Research at the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC), commented:

“We welcome the extension to Stamp Duty relief announced in the budget today, which the ILC alongside 10 other organisations called for in a joint letter sent by the Retirement Housing Group.

The stamp duty exemption has played a big role in helping older people downsize into housing more suited to their needs, such as retirement housing, and its extension will help those desperate to exchange contracts by the end of March avoid a massive Stamp Duty tax bill.

Although there was expected to be downward pressure on house sales due to COVID-19 in 2020 – 2021, house sales have in fact held up well thanks to the Stamp Duty holiday. My wish would be for Stamp Duty to be abolished altogether because it tends to jam up the market as we have seen in recent years.

However, none of this changes the housing outlook unless more is done to solve the underlying housing crisis, caused by increasing under-occupation and population ageing.

Just saving for a deposit is a herculean task for first time buyers and policies that would ease pressures higher up the value chain would help unlock equity and create opportunity to reinvent our towns.

The budget announcement that the government will guarantee 95% mortgages is a start, but it will not be welcome on its own if its main effect is to increase house prices further without increasing supply.

Data published this week by the ONS on families and households shows that the estimated number of UK households continues to grow apace and now stands at nearly 28m.

Concerns over the problem of loneliness in old age is also confirmed by the figures which show the number of people aged 65 and over living alone has increased to 3.7m – about 0.5m more than in 2000.

With a further 23% increase predicted to 2040 it is hard not to draw the conclusion that housing policy is insufficiently focussed on this issue – more needs to be done!

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) dataset on families and households was released on Monday 1 March 2021 here.