Belfast Telegraph

Stamp duty hike targets trophy homes

By Helen Carson

Well-heeled Northern Ireland house-hunters looking for a mansion appear to be unaffected by the budget where a 7% stamp duty will be imposed on homes costing more than £2m.

George Osborne's move to slap a mansion tax on houses sought after by the super-rich was widely predicted.

And he has vowed to police the practice whereby wealthy buyers purchase luxury homes with prestigious post codes through offshore accounts and therefore dodge stamp duty expenses.

While there are hundreds of houses here listed on ranging in price from £700,000-£1.9m, homes valued at £2m-plus appear to be rare.

The province's property price crash of 2007 saw house values here plummet from an all-time high of 50%-plus. Despite this, though, there are still some very expensive houses in Northern Ireland.

Top end homes listed on the local property website include a seven-bedroom, six-reception room manor in Bangor with an asking price just below the threshold at £1.975m and Fairy Hill in Osborne Gardens, Malone, Belfast, also for £1.975m.

A buyer at this price will not have to pay the top band stamp duty which would mean a tax contribution of £140,000 on a £2m home.

But just because houses of £2m-plus are not listed doesn't mean they are not out there.

Property in the upper price bracket does not necessarily appear on a website or in an estate agents' shop window, as the owners usually prefer discreet marketing in a bid to sell their homes.

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