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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Stamp Duty: yet more for government despite 69,000 first time buyers

Figures from the Treasury suggest that the annual revenue from stamp duty for the year to the end of March is 10 per cent higher than in the previous years - and that’s despite 69,000 first time buyers who have escaped the tax under new rules.

The autumn Budget included an announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond that first time buyerswould be exempted from stamp duty on properties under £300,000.

This led to a 20 per cent slump in the amount of stamp duty taken in by the government in the past quarter, but nonetheless the amount for the full year was a tenth higher than the previous 12 months.

The overall quarterly SDLT transactions fell from 333,500 to 267,800 in January, February and March. HMRC says these figures are “broadly in line” with official forecasts. 

The average first time buyer saved £2,300 through the exemption, with the largest savings on FTBs in London - they typically saved £4,300 - while the average in Northern Ireland was the lowest, at £800.

Very nearly a fifth of all first time buyer transactions were in south east England and another 13 per cent were in London.

Most first-time buyer purchases were for properties priced under £300,000 although in London some 42 per cent were purchasing homes between £300,000 and £500,000.

The government claims that over the next five years it anticipates that over a million first time buyers will benefit from the duty exemption.

Separate figures published by the government show that over 387,000 people have used the government’s Help to Buy scheme, and over 1.1m accounts have been opened with the Help To Buy ISA. 

The median age of a first time buyer in the Help To Buy scheme is 27, compared to a national first-time buyer median age of 30.

“Through this scheme we have helped almost 159,000 households get a foot on the housing ladder” claims housing minister Dominic Raab.

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