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Increase in Property Sales above Inheritance Tax Limit

New research by Saga Investment Services has found that the proportion of properties sold in England and Wales above the £325,000 Inheritance Tax (IHT) ‘nil-rate band’ looks set to reach record levels in 2016.

Earlier this year, Saga found that 24% of properties sold in 2015 exceeded £325,000, an increase from 13% in 2009 when the nil-rate band was first set. In fresh analysis of property sales data from the Land Registry for the first seven months of 2016, that figure has edged up to 26%, meaning more than one in four properties were sold over the nil-rate band.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest areas for growth were to be found in London. In central London, four out of every five (82%) properties sold so far this year exceeded £325,000, up from 76% in 2015.

The findings come six months before the UK Government introduces a new IHT allowance for people passing on their main home to a direct descendant. In 2017, an individual will be able to pass on £425,000 to their heirs, if this includes their main residence, meaning a married couple or civil partnership could pass on as much as £850,000. This new allowance will rise by £25,000 each year until it reaches £175,000 in 2020, when a potential £1 million can be passed on.

“The latest figures suggest that 2016 will be a record year for property sales exceeding the IHT nil-rate band,” commented Gareth Shaw, head of consumer affairs at Saga Investment Services. “And with more people dragged into the IHT net simply because their property has risen in value, the tax is no longer just an issue for the wealthy.”

“For anyone who believes their estate may be subject to IHT, early action with a professional financial planner will be a valuable investment,” he added.

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