Over 241,000 first-time buyers kept money saved from cut in stamp duty land tax

Michael Lloyd

February 1, 2019

More than 241,000 first-time buyers have kept the cash they would have spent on stamp duty land tax for their new homes, the HM Revenue and Customs has found.

The money-saving tax relief, known as First Time Buyers Relief (FTBR) was introduced on 22 November 2017, and new quarterly figures show first-time buyers saved £144m between October and December 2018. This means new homeowners have saved £570m since the relief’s introduction.

Mel Stride MP, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “These statistics show the value of government help for first time buyers. Over the last quarter 60,000 new homeowners got help to realise the dream of property ownership.”

First Time Buyers Relief is a stamp duty land tax relief for eligible first-time buyers.

The tax relief can be used when buying a residential property where the purchase price is no more than £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland, as long as the purchaser does not own any other properties and intends to use it as their main residence.

In the 2018 Budget, the relief was extended to first-time buyers purchasing through approved shared ownership schemes who choose to pay stamp duty land tax in stages, rather than on the market value of the property.

This has been retrospectively applied to eligible property transactions since last November.

The relief was claimed in 60,700 transactions in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 3% from the previous quarter.

Phil Hall, AAT head of public affairs and public policy, added: “Switching stamp duty liability from the buyer to the seller isn’t a silver bullet for our myriad housing problems but it would make the system fairer because those moving up the ladder would be paying duty on the lower-priced house that they are selling, not the higher-price one they are buying.

“It would also remove every single first-time buyer from liability, irrespective of the cost of the house they are buying.

“It’s important to highlight that this change would save the taxpayer huge sums of money – almost £700m a year – whilst simultaneously protecting the billions of pounds stamp duty raises.”

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