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New Stamp Duty Holiday And How It Works

The Chancellor today announced a stamp duty holiday so you don't have to pay any stamp duty on a property worth up to £500,000. Here's how much you can save, what it means for second homes, buying properties over the £500k threshold and everything you need to know about the change...

The Chancellor today announced a stamp duty holiday. For a limited time, the level at which stamp duty is charged on a residential property is being temporarily raised to £500,000. Before this announcement, it is only if you buy a home under £125,000 (or £300,000 for first-time buyers) that you are exempt from paying any stamp duty.

What didn’t make it into the Chancellor’s statement was the fact the government has handed investors and second home buyers preferential treatment as well, with a sizeable cut in the stamp duty surcharges they now have to pay. Second properties purchased below £500,000 will pay a 3% surcharge rather than the usual 5-8%.

When does this stamp duty holiday start?

Immediately. So from today, you won’t need to pay stamp duty on a property below £500,000. This stamp duty cut will stay in place until 31st March 2021.

How much will I save from the stamp duty holiday?

The Chancellor said in his statement that this would mean the average stamp duty bill would fall by £4,500 and that nearly nine out of ten people buying their main home will pay no stamp duty at all. Those buying a home up to £500k will pay no stamp duty at all.

Buy a home worth more than £500,000 and you’ll pay stamp duty at the normal rate – starting at 5% for properties at £500,001 – £925,000. You can find a full break down of how much you’ll pay and different bands in our guide to stamp duty. This applies to England and Northern Ireland only.

Does the stamp duty holiday apply to buy to let properties and second homes?

Yes. Second properties under £500,000 would have had to pay a 5-8% surcharge but as of today pay only 3%.

Why has the government introduced a stamp duty holiday now?

It is thought that this would boost the property market and help buyers struggling because of the coronavirus crisis.

Anything that helps homeowners feel more secure about making a house move after coronavirus has got to be welcome.

However we do question how much this will help first time buyers, currently struggling to save a deposit at a time when 95% mortgages no longer exist. First time buyers are already exempt from stamp duty up to £300,000 in England and Northern Ireland (up to £175,000 in Scotland). And applying preferential treatment to landlords and second home buyers with cuts to stamp duty on second properties will further disadvantage first time buyers.

We have our fingers crossed that more market activity spurred on by today’s stamp duty cut will encourage lenders to reintroduce a wider range of mortgage products to help those struggling to raise a 10% deposit.

What is stamp duty and when is it paid?

Stamp duty is a tax paid by people when they buy a property. The amount you pay depends on whether you live in England and N Ireland, Wales or Scotland, which stamp duty band your property price falls into, whether you are a first time buyer and whether you are buying your primary residency or a second home. And from April 2021, overseas investors will see an extra 2% levy added to their tax bill.

But the changes announced today only apply to property buyers in England and Northern Ireland. It does not apply in Scotland to those paying the equivalent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, or in Wales to buyers paying Land Transaction Tax.

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