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Stamp duty first time buyer help massively favours south of England

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Wed 19 Dec 2018

Stamp duty first time buyer help massively favours south of England

More than 75 per cent of first time buyers have benefited from the changes to stamp duty thresholds for introduced a year ago - but the measure is hugely more helpful to purchasers in the south of England than to those elsewhere.

Research by reallymoving.com has looked at first time buyer activity between the introduction of the scheme in November 2017 and last month.

FTBs in London and the South East have reaped far greater savings than those in the North and Midlands, where lower house prices mean the changes have had less impact.

Thirteen months ago the government scrapped stamp duty for first time buyers on properties up to the value of £300,000, while those spending up to £500,000 now pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000 and five per cent on the remaining amount. 

Following the introduction of the new rules, three quarters of first time buyers in England have benefited by paying no stamp duty at all or by paying less than they would have done under the old system.



HMRC has already revealed that 58,800 first time buyers claimed first time buyer relief in the third quarter of this year, taking the total number of users during the period of November 2017 to November 2018 to 180,500, saving £426 million between them. 

In areas of lower house prices, predominantly outside southern England, a large proportion of buyers already fell below the previous stamp duty threshold of £125,000. 

In the South East, by contrast, 93 per cent of first time buyers have made savings, compared to 39 per cent in the North East. 

Of the total amount saved in stamp duty in the first year of the relief, first time buyers in London have enjoyed a 28 per cent share, worth approximately £119m, followed by the South East at 25 per cent (£106m) and the East at 14 per cent (£62m). 

Meanwhile, first time buyers in the North East enjoyed just one per cent of the savings, worth £5m.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of ReallyMoving, says: “The government’s stamp duty giveaway for first time buyers has had little effect in the northern regions, with the impact broadly increasing the further south you go.

“The government recognised the impact of regional house price variations when it introduced Help to Buy regional caps in the recent Budget, yet stamp duty continues to be applied nationally, remaining a major barrier to thousands who are buying in higher value locations.”