Stamp Duty – Budget 201723rd November 2017

We expected a change in the stamp duty regime in the budget yesterday, but did not anticipate it would have such an impact on first time buyers. The Government have decided that effective immediately, if you are a first time buyer, you are exempt from stamp duty up to a property value of £300k. For properties costing between £300-£500k, no stamp duty will be payable on the first £300k.

The definition of a first time buyer is ‘A first-time buyer is defined as someone who has never owned a freehold or leasehold interest in a dwelling before and who is purchasing their only or main residence. Residential property anywhere in the world is counted when determining whether someone is a first-time buyer. All purchasers in a joint purchase must be first-time buyers to be eligible for the relief’.

The Government hopes to stimulate what already is a fairly bouyant property market ever further and this change in SDLT will hopefully bring us property solicitors further work as first time buyers react to the new changes. It is unlikely that the change will be retrospective so if you are a first time buyer and completed on a purchase last week, you will not be entitled to a refund at this stage.

There will be further press releases over the next few days relating to the changes and the various impacts it will have on the property market and we will read these with interest. Reports suggest that property prices could be increased as buyers will have increased buying power as they will no longer have to pay for stamp duty but we shall see how this develops.