Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeNewsHow Michael Gove 'lost' £100,000

How Michael Gove ‘lost’ £100,000


MICHAEL Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, from whom he is estranged, have finally managed to sell their London house. I’ve no doubt this is a cause for private celebration.

But this news provides a snapshot of the property market which should be of interest to the rest of us, bearing in mind its importance to the wider economy.

The fact that Gove is the Housing Minister provides a further plank of relevance.

The couple paid £2million for the handsome Victorian property – plus stamp duty of £153,750 – in April 2017. So their original total outlay (not counting legal fees) was £2,153,750.

Land Registry records show they paid a fair market rate at the time – neither above nor below what others paid for similar homes in the same street.

After their separation, the house went on sale in August 2021 priced at £2.25million.

After several months of inactivity, the figure was cut quite dramatically to £2.095million.

Assuming this sum has been realised when the keys are handed to the new owners, the Goves will have had to pay the estate agent who sold the house on their behalf a fee of 2 per cent of the sale price – that’s £42,000.

This means – if they are lucky – that the property will have returned to them £2,053,000 – a loss of about £100,000. (I don’t know if they have a mortgage but that’s a side issue for the purposes of this article.)

Some will say that market forces are at work. Maybe.

But if the Housing Minister having to bear a £100,000 loss on the sale of his central London house isn’t a wake-up call to the government that its pernicious stamp-duty tax is strangling the all-important London property market, I don’t know what is.

Here is the house – or a peek through the front door – which the new owner will be paying the government £165,000 in tax for the pleasure of buying.

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John Smith
John Smith
John Smith is a journalist.

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