Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that Stamp Duty Land Tax will no longer affect first-time buyers buying a home worth up to £300,000. However, Scotland will be left out of this important change as we operate under a different system: LBTT. You can read about our views on LBTT by clicking here.
The change means that 95% of first-time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will see a stamp duty cut, and 80% will pay nothing at all. It is expected that existing homeowners will also benefit from the cut, as house prices will rise in line with the change. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword in this regard.
The chancellor said that: “this is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again.”
But the problem for many first-time buyers remains the up-front cost of their deposit. The average deposit across the UK, according to Halifax, is £32,899. Compare this to the average Stamp Duty charge of £1,654 and you can immediately see the disparity.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, we have LBTT to contend with. This means that all homebuyers are charged a percentage on sale value, starting from £145,000. The levy is 2% on purchases between £145,000 and £250,000; 5% between £250,000 and £325,000; 10% between £325,000 and £750,000; and 12% on properties costing more than £750,000.
However, it is hoped that LBTT may be brought into line with changes in other parts of the UK. Some experts have suggested that LBTT could be costing Scotland up to £800m per year, a pretty hefty price. The Draft Budget 2018/19 will be published on 14 December, subject to parliamentary approval. Many of us in the property industry will be eagerly awaiting this decision.