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Stamp duty change - government defines 'the first time buyer'

The government has defined the ‘first time buyers’ who will benefit from its immediate scrapping of stamp duty for FTB purchases below £300,000. 

The definition of a first time buyer, enshrined in the Budget small print, has been tightened up to ensure only what it regards as ‘genuine’ FTBs can take advantage of the new initiative. 

“In order to count as a first time buyer, a purchaser must not - either alone or with others - have previously acquired a major interest in a dwelling or an equivalent interest in land situated anywhere else in the world.


“This includes previous acquisitions by inheritance or gift or by a financial institution on behalf of a person under an alternative finance scheme. 

“Relief is not denied by virtue of a previous acquisition as a trustee unless the purchaser was also a beneficiary of the trust.

“Relief is also not denied in the purchaser owns or has previously owned non-residential or mixed-use property, as long as that property did not include a dwelling.

“This restriction does not apply where the interest acquired was the grant or assignment of a lease with less than 21 years to run. 

“If the property is purchased jointly, all the purchasers must meet these conditions.” 

Meanwhile, fascinating data produced by the research team at Countrywide shows that the mean price paid now by first time buyers is well below £300,000 in every part of the country outside of London. 

The mean figures are:

East Midlands - £164,371 (proportion of FTBs buying below £300k = 97%)

East of England - £241,534 (84%)

London - £401,403 (30%)

North East England - £160,507 (98%)

North West England - £160,793 (97%)

Scotland - £146,206 (n/a)

South East England - £267,309 (73%)

South West England - £194,031 (96%)

Wales - £150,104 (n/a)

West Midlands - £163,609 (97%)

Yorkshire and the Humber - £157,084 (98%)

  • Rob Hailstone

    If anyone wants a copy of the HMRC Guidance Notes (containing a useful Q & A section), please email me: rh@boldgroup.co.uk

  • Simon Shinerock

    Going to be hard to enforce the worldwide part of the definition

  • icon

    Anywhere else in the world - what a joke!; the idiots that draft this stuff clearly have never been in or spoke to anyone in a land registry office in Thailand for instance! there is no chance of them ever getting that info and if they could the cost would be ten times the tax at least.


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