The Chancellor has announced that stamp duty is to be abolished for all first time buyers on properties bought up to £300,000, effective from today. In addition, first time buyers purchasing properties up to £500,000 will pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000.
In his Budget, Philip Hammond announced that 80% of first time buyers would pay no stamp duty at all. With 358,000 first time buyers in the last year, this means that at least 24% of all sales in the UK’s housing market are set to be charged 0% tax. Once other exempt sales under £125,000 are taken into account, this figure will be even higher.
Two thirds of properties bought so far this year across the country have been under the new threshold but there are large regional variations. In Wales and the North East, over 90% of sales in the last year have been over £300,000 while just 17% of sales in London were for less than £300,000.
While good news for first-time buyers, this will further squeeze investors in the sub-£500,000 market who are already suffering from increased taxes. What's more, it does not, give any encouragement to owners higher up the chain to downsize.
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The latest monthly report produced by the Royal Institution of Surveyors has indicated that the housing market is stabilising in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
The report gathers the observations of surveyors across the country, and is considered to be a good measure of confidence within the market.
Following the referendum result, initial findings suggested a drop in prices as uncertainty amongst buyers grew. Members of the Institution are now forecasting an increase of around 3.3% a year for the next 5 years.
One of the main factors in the predicted increase is a shortage of property for sale. Average numbers on estate agents books have been dropping over recent months, with numbers close to the record low recorded last December.
However, the recent base rate cut, record low mortgage rates and low unemployment levels, should help to boost the confidence of potential buyers over the next few years, as negotiations to leave the EU begin.
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