Friday, 20 October 2017

All this, and stamp duty is on the house

SINCE 2014’s stamp duty reforms the property marketplace has changed, with some companies (Barratt Homes and

SINCE 2014’s stamp duty reforms the property marketplace has changed, with some companies (Barratt Homes and TSB) and even individual vendors offering to pay potential buyers’ stamp duty for them in a bid to shift their properties.

In the £1million to £1.5million price bracket there has even been a bit of a bottleneck, thought to be directly linked to the 2014 reforms. Although the jury is still out on this last point.

One local source says: “Things are ‘interesting’ right now. I don’t know what’s going on with the £1million to £1.5million price bracket at the moment. The market seems to have trouble in that sector.”

Another local source adds: “The million-pound market is continuing to thrive and drive the market at the moment. Why? Because it’s a more mortal price range.”

Stamp duty is currently paid on all property transactions above £125,000. The rate is two per cent up to £250,000, five per cent up to £925,000, 10 per cent up to £1.5million and 12 per cent on anything above that.



Perhaps with this in mind, the owners of Flint House — a wonderful £2,300,000 property in Ibstone — have in effect removed the issue altogether by offering to pay the buyer’s stamp duty for them.

“The stamp duty payment by retrospective discount will benefit the purchasers,” says Alexander Risdon at Knight Frank on Thames Side, Henley, which is marketing Flint House.

“Reducing the asking price by the stamp duty amount would still mean a substantial stamp duty payment would be due. By doing it this way, there will be no stamp duty payable by the buyer, therefore a substantial saving for them.”

Positioned in this idylic semi-rural hamlet — part of the “golden valley” Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty — the stamp duty on Flint House at this guide price equates to £189,750 under the current system, that was introduced in late 2014.

Certainly no pin money. But a drop in the ocean compared with some stamp duty figures. Last year, one particularly motivated owner offered to pay the buyer’s stamp duty on their £75million Hyde Park property, where the duty was £8.9million. (Pre-stamp duty overhaul, the vendor said the bill would have been “just” £5.4million.)

Figures released by HM Revenue and Customs showed a staggering £487million worth of stamp duty was generated by the purchase of residential properties in Westminster in 2014-15, with a further £451million coming from sales in Kensington and Chelsea. That compares with £17million for the whole of Manchester and £11million in Liverpool.

Alexander Risdon says: “Most willing sellers and buyers will find a compromise. For 2016, at the higher end of the market, I believe there will be increased activity as buyers get used to budgeting for the higher stamp duty levels introduced in 2014. We’re seeing sellers having to contribute more to counteract the changes in cost for purchasers.”

Named after the materials from which it is made, Flint House is a characterful village house in an elevated position with a whopping 3,303 sq ft of space (4,482 with the annexe and outbuildings added on) and 5.4 acres of land. The property includes five bedrooms, four reception rooms, two bathrooms and outbuildings including secondary accommodation.

The owner said of the property: “Flint House is so named because part of the house is of brick and flint construction, originally a pair of brick and flint cottages built in the late 19th century. This pair of cottages is now the sitting room. The dining room was, I believe, built in the Thirties and the kitchen in the Fifties. The games room was a later addition, built in the mid-Seventies and, I understand, for the use of the then owners’ teenage children and their friends which, together with the second downstairs WC, originally a shower room, enabled them to stay over with their sleeping bags without disturbing their parents.”

There is also a two-bedroom bungalow for guests, although it will need some attention as this was built in the Fifties and has not been lived in for 20 years. The vendor admits it “needs considerable renovation”.

According to the sellers, the study and the utility room plus part of the kitchen are probably the oldest part of the house, which was originally the gatehouse for nearby Ibstone House (some distance away on the other side of the current road).

The house has seen some considerable updating since 2002. The vendors said: “You may be interested to know that the file containing the house deeds measures three inches thick. There has been considerable updating over the past 14 years, including a large French farmhouse-style kitchen and a green oak framed conservatory.”

The large garden at the rear of the property is completely fenced in and is a somewhat of a children’s paradise. The paddocks have been mainly unused for about 14 years, but the owners used them to keep rare breed sheep for many years.

All in all, Flint House is a welcoming and comfortable family home, and with the stamp duty being paid by the vendors, there is an extra incentive to take a peek.

Flint House, Ibstone. Guide price: £2,300,000. Call Alexander Risdon at Knight Frank on (01491) 844900.



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