Research Paper SERC Discussion Paper 216
Transfer taxes and household mobility: distortion on the housing or labor market?
We estimate the effect of the UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) – a transfer tax on the purchase price of property or land – on different types of household mobility using micro data. Exploiting a discontinuity in the tax schedule, we isolate the impact of the tax from other determinants of mobility. We compare homeowners with self-assessed house values on either sides of a cut-off value where the tax rate jumps from 1 to 3 percent. We find that a higher SDLT has a strong negative impact on housing-related and short distance moves but does not adversely affect job-induced or long distance mobility. Overall, our results suggest that transfer taxes may mainly distort housing rather than labor markets.