Mansion tax 'will hit more South West families'
Almost 30,000 families in the South West will be hit by a £36,000-a-year "mansion tax" within the next 25 years, research claims.
Steadily rising property prices mean that thousands of homes in the six county-wide region would be caught by the tax on properties worth more than £2 million, according to analysis by agents Knight Frank.
While most "mansions" are in London and the South East, the far South West has a large number of farms and historic buildings that play a key role in agriculture and tourism – two of the peninsula's most important sectors. Properties in the £2 million-plus bracket can also be found in second-home hotspots such as in Rock in Cornwall and Salcombe in Devon. According to Knight Frank, 1,997 properties in the South West are currently worth £2 million or more, or 3.6% of all properties in the UK in that price bracket. The firm estimates the total will rise to 5,710 within 10 years and 28,160 within 25 years.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have given strong backing to the idea of an annual tax on the most expensive properties. For the levy to raise as much as the two parties hope, owners of £2 million-plus properties would have to be hit with an average bill of between £30,000 and £36,000.
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The Knight Frank research suggests that ever growing numbers of relatively modest family homes would be caught in a "mansion tax trap" across the capital. Liam Bailey, Knight Frank's head of research, said: "Over the past ten years house prices have risen by 69 per cent. Assuming a similar rate of growth in the future all houses worth more than £1.2 million today would be paying a mansion tax ten years from now."
A detailed breakdown shows that the biggest concentrations of £2 million homes in the South West are currently in Poole, Dorset, which boasts the "millionaire's row" of Sandbanks, with more than 500.
Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: "Labour start off calling this a mansion tax but before long their proposals would mean government snoopers reclassifying hundreds of thousands of modest flats and homes across the country as 'mansions' and clobbering ordinary people."