By Vic Daniels
Live like a Lord in a house worth £1m plus ? Not if you live in my road, you don't.
I've been struggling on the property ladder for 30 years - I bought my first place - a one bedroom flat in East London for £13,500 in 1980 - and have worked hard ever since to meet monthly mortgage payments which, given I've always lived in London, have always been relatively high. Now I'm not quite in the £1m bracket yet, but a similar property down our road went for £920,000 a few months back, so if I decided to 'upgrade' my home, the chances are the next house I buy would be in the £1m plus bracket and that 5% stamp duty (a minimum £50,000) would become due. It's all part of the government's plan to soak 'the rich', of course.
But am I rich ? No. And do I have a big flash house ? No, I live in a four bedroomed terraced house in a grotty area of West London, right next to one of the most notorious council estates in the capital, where drugs are sold in the local park, people have been stabbed and shot up the road, and you daren't leave your house without double-locking your door.
And will I move and pay £50,000 in stamp duty to this, or any other government ? Will I heck! Me, and thousands like me, will just sit tight and freeze up the housing market. And many will simply obtain planning permission (it's much easier now) and extend their properties instead. Oh, and they'll do it by paying cash to Polish builders, who'll send the money back home to their families. End result ? The stock of houses for sale gets smaller (and first time buyers find it even harder to get a foot on the property ladder), and Poland's economy benefits from our government's tax grab!
Really smart move, that one.