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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Stamp duty boost for first-time buyers? Not a bit of it, claims research

First-time buyers are £25,000 worse off thanks to the stamp duty holiday, according to estate agent comparison site GetAgent.

The website revealed that the stamp duty holiday has increased the price of first-time buyer homes by an average of 11.7% in England in the last year, and by as much as 31.5% in some areas of the country.

The stamp duty holiday was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in July 2020 as a financial incentive to keep the housing market buoyant during the pandemic and help galvanise the UK economy.

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Heightened demand has, however, pushed house prices to an all-time high, and GetAgent claims that first-time purchasers are now facing bigger challenges than ever when it comes to getting on the ladder for the first time and securing homeownership.  

Its analysis found that the average price of a first-time buyer home in July 2020, just before the stamp duty holiday was introduced, stood at £212,166 - but the latest figures reveal the average first-time buyer home now costs £236,982, a rise of £24,816 or 11.7%.

Regionally speaking, the North West has witnessed the largest rise, with the average first-time buyer in this part of the world now paying £168,820 - a 16.9% leap since July of last year.

First-time buyer price increases at a greater rate than the national average have also been seen in Yorkshire & Humber (14.8%), the North East (13.4%), West Midlands (13%), and East Midlands (12.9%).

GetAgent claims that, when analysing the market at local authority level, the bad news for England’s first-time buyers continues. In Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, for example, the average price for a first-time buyer was £178,974 in June 2020 - rising to £235,425 today, an increase of £56,451 or 31.5%.

In Rossendale, Lancashire, the average first-time buyer home costs £147,417 now, having increased 24.3% since the introduction of the stamp duty holiday. 

Other areas to experience very high price rises include North Norfolk (23%), North Devon (19%), the Cotswolds (18%), and Hastings (18%).

Not all areas have seen an increase, though, although these areas still remain largely unaffordable for the average first-time buyer. 

In Kensington & Chelsea, for instance, the average first-time buyer home cost £1.1 million in July 2020 – a figure which has since dropped to just over £1 million, a decrease of £75,093 or 6.5%.

A similar story has taken place in increasingly fashionable Hackney, where the stamp duty holiday caused a price drop of 4.1%, with the City of London (-4%), the City of Westminster (-3%), and Southwark (-1.4%) also seeing a reduction.

“There’s no denying that the stamp duty holiday has been a roaring success in terms of fuelling property market demand and keeping the market moving in an otherwise uncertain time,” Colby Short, founder and CEO of GetAgent, said.

“However, while many existing homeowners will have benefited from a boost in the value of their home, the reality is that the nation’s first-time buyers are worse off when it comes to taking that first step onto the property ladder.”

He added: “Although mortgage costs remain very favourable at present, the sheer increase in property values and the deposit required will see many either forced to save for longer, or priced out of the market completely.”

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