When a higher rate of stamp duty was announced by the Chancellor last November, it was meant to cool the boom in buy-to-let.
Under the new rules, applying from April 1 this year, anyone buying a property who already owned another property would pay the usual rate of stamp duty – plus a three percentage point surcharge.
This means a buyer’s tax bill could increase by thousands of pounds.
For example, on a property worth £300,000, the charge would increase from £5,000 to £14,000.
George Osborne’s intention was to deter property investors and leave more property free for young families.
But the rules are having unexpected consequences for many. These are people who don’t put themselves in the same bracket as buy-to-let investors, but who nevertheless have discovered that they will have to pay the extra amount when they move, buy a family home or downsize.