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Stamp Duty and Housing for Older People

Report | October 2016

IPC conducted a study for McCarthy & Stone of the potential impact that a reduction in Stamp Duty might have on older people and the wider housing market. This report by the Institute of Public Care updates work carried out in 2013 and explores the current context for such a move, as well as the potential implications.

The report illustrates that there are large numbers of older people living in under-occupied houses and there are obvious benefits to them and to the housing market of encouraging or enabling them to move. It suggests that a reduction in Stamp Duty for older people could be a highly effective way of achieving this at no cost to the Government.

Other benefits include the potential impact on the health and wellbeing of older people through living in accommodation better suited to meet their needs. A reduction in Stamp Duty on sales and/or purchases of property by older people could stimulate the development of more retirement accommodation to meet an increase in demand. It could further stimulate the housing market and free up larger properties for those lower down the housing market ladder.

A more targeted approach, exempting just those people moving into retirement properties, would be less costly to the Inland Revenue but at the present time there is only limited evidence on the likely effectiveness of this approach in encouraging people to move. Such changes are likely to bear fruit and are worthy of further consideration.