Second-steppers need a stamp duty holiday

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Estate agent window If you asked people what they thought the most unfair taxes are I'm sure stamp duty on property would come up somewhere at the top with inheritance tax.

It seems unreasonable to pay tax on a property that you're purchasing from income that's already been taxed and that you're going to fill with items that you pay tax on.


But are the implications of stamp duty far wider than being a bit of a pain for those paying it? I'm a second-stepper, a person trading up their home from their first-time buyer property.

We're currently, fingers crossed, getting closer to our exchange date and the closer I get to it the more I resent the cost of moving – particularly the thousands of pounds I will have to pay to the government for the privilege of buying a property that will be big enough to house a family when I decide to start one.

I'm lucky enough to have made a profit on the property we are selling so can cover the cost of the not-unsubstantial tax bill but others aren't as lucky. There are plenty of second-steppers out there that are not only struggling with low housing stock that's pushing up prices but also the actual cost of moving.

For many it is truly prohibitive and is forcing people to stay in homes that may be unsuitable for their current needs.

There are lots of government initiatives out there to help first-time buyers on to the property ladder but what about those who are looking to move? Granted, the first part of the government's Help to Buy scheme will help second-steppers by offering interest-free loans for a period of give years to those who buy new-build homes.

However, not everyone wants to buy a new-build homes; maybe your children are at a school with no new-builds nearby or you'd have to move out of your area to make use of the loan, so really it's of limited use.

If the government really wants to get the property market moving why don't they offer second-steppers a stamp duty holiday like they did for first-time buyers?

A six month window would mean second-steppers could afford the family homes they need and want to buy, and in the process it would free up housing stock for first-time buyers as the second-steppers move out of their one bed flats. Surely it's a win-win and safer for the government than guaranteeing property loans.