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Stamp duty jumps cost sellers over quarter of a billion pounds

17th March 2014

  • £260 million lost by sellers reducing the fair value of their properties
  • 37,266 properties undersold to bring prices below stamp duty thresholds
  • Sellers of properties in stamp duty “dead-zones” lose £6,990 on average

Stamp duty “dead-zones” have wiped over £260 million off the value of residential properties sold in the England and Wales since April 2012 at an average cost of almost £7,000 to each seller, according to property website

Since April 2012, when the last changes were made to the levels of stamp duty charged on the purchase of a residential property, over 37,000 properties have been under-priced in order to avoid costly jumps in stamp duty and make them more attractive to buyers.

In an analysis of property sales since April 2012 , Zoopla found that the number of sales in the price bands immediately before a stamp duty threshold is significantly higher than the level expected, while the number of sales in the price band immediately after a threshold – the stamp duty “dead-zone” – is significantly lower.

Sales volumes vs SDLT price thresholds: £0 - £600k (April 2012 – April 2013)

This trend is particularly prevalent at the £250,000 level. The number of sales in the £250,001 - £265,000 price band was 60% short of the expected volume because over 25,000 sold properties were under-priced to keep them below the stamp duty threshold. At this level, one penny over the £250,000 threshold will add £5,000 to the buyer’s stamp duty bill.

Sellers whose property values fall in a stamp duty “dead-zone” are reducing prices by £6,990 on average. The total amount cut from property prices to keep properties in a lower stamp duty threshold is more than £260m since April 2012.

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla, said:“The current stamp duty system distorts the market and prevents thousands of sellers from achieving the full value of their property when they come to sell. Over the last few years buyer budgets have been squeezed by low savings rates and the high cost of living and this has left buyers less willing to pay the extra stamp duty levied on properties just above stamp duty thresholds.”

“An alternative system which removes the distortions is possible without reducing the revenue received via the Stamp Duty Land Tax. While a graduated system of land tax will mean some buyers pay slightly more than they would in the current system, overall it will make for a fairer approach to taxing property and enable sellers to realise the full value of their home.”

View full analysis and alternative proposal at the Zoopla blog:

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For further information, please contact Tim Vooght at or on 020 3872 5615.

Notes to editors

Zoopla is the UK's most comprehensive property website, focused on empowering users with the resources they need to make better-informed property decisions. We help consumers both find their next home and research the market by combining hundreds of thousands of property listings with market data, local information and community tools.

At Zoopla we are fans of transparency and everything we do is aimed at making the market more efficient for both property consumers and advertisers alike. Zoopla has rapidly become the UK’s leading online destination for property consumers to search for homes and do their market research and the favoured online marketing partner for UK estate agents, letting agents and property developers.

Launched in 2008, Zoopla has since been one of the fastest growing websites in the UK, now attracting over 40 million visits per month and we are proud to have collected numerous awards and accolades along the way, including being named one of the Top 10 UK Tech Companies (Guardian) and one of the Top 10 Most Innovative UK Companies (Smarta).

Zoopla is part of Zoopla Limited which was founded in 2007.

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