We provide evidence on the effect of property transaction taxes (stamp duty) on house prices, the timing of house transactions, and the volume of house transactions. To address these questions, we exploit administrative data covering the universe of stamp duty tax returns in the
United Kingdom from 2005-2011 along with compelling sources of identifying variation. First, discontinuous jumps in the stamp duty at threshold property prices|notches|allow us to estimate the effect of the tax on house prices. Second, anticipated and unanticipated changes in the tax schedule allow us to estimate the dynamics of price responses and timing effects on house transactions. Third, a temporary exemption of some properties from the tax|a stamp duty
holiday|aimed at stimulating the housing market during recession allows us to provide micro evidence on macro stimulus policy. We find that the effect of transaction taxes on house prices is large (often larger than the tax itself) and that dynamic adjustment to changes in transaction taxes is very fast. We also find that the timing of house transactions responds sharply to anticipated
tax increases. Finally, temporary cuts in transaction taxes successfully stimulate housing market activity in the short run|a 1% cut in the tax achieves a stimulus effect of 10% additional transactions at its peak|but the temporary boost in activity is followed by a slump in activity after the policy is withdrawn. The cumulative effect of a 16-month stimulus program was fully neutralized only 10 months after the end of the program.