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Buying a property? Government stamp duty changes may help

by Iain Mason

Published on 7th August 2018

New government figures released recently show reductions to stamp duty levies are having an impact on the housing market.

As experienced conveyancers, the legal team here at Optimum Professional Services in Swindon, have also noticed how the changes are having a positive effect on the local housing market.

Over the next five years, it’s estimated that one million people will be able to get on to the housing ladder following the changes in stamp duty: first-time buyers purchasing homes of £300,000  and under now pay no stamp duty at all, and those buying properties of up to £500,000 have benefited from a stamp duty cut.

This measure, coupled with the commitment made by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget to building 300,000 new homes a year, has given a boost to the housing market, not just for first time buyers.

Stamp duty reductions and other buying schemes

At Optimum, we help buyers take advantage of two government schemes in particular – Help to Buy and Help to Buy ISA.

Help to Buy includes an equity loan scheme. This is available both to first-time buyers and to those who are moving home. However, it is restricted only to new-build homes.

If you are buying a new property, you will need to raise 5% of the value as a deposit. The government will fund a further loan of up to 20% through the Homes and Communities Agency.

This gives you a combined deposit of potentially 25% and then you’re in a much better position to apply for a mortgage with those lenders who participate in Help to Buy. You obtain a mortgage of 75% of the purchase price, which helps to keep your monthly mortgage payments lower to start with.

The idea behind the Help to Buy ISA is to help you save for the deposit you need to get a mortgage. It is open only to first-time buyers – you cannot have owned a property anywhere else in the world.

As with all ISAs, the savings are tax free but the bonus is that the government also makes a contribution – so you save faster.

If you are a first-time buyer, instruct your solicitor or conveyancer – such as the legal team here at Optimum. We will apply for your government bonus prior to completion – you can’t apply for it yourself.

The government sets out strict guidelines for conveyancers when requesting the bonus, and certain steps have to be taken in order to ensure the bonus is received in time for completion. Once we receive the government bonus, it will be added to the money you’re putting towards your first home.

Lower stamp duty, Help to Buy and Help to Buy ISAs are all contributing to a buoyant housing market, and of course, Optimum’s conveyancing team are on hand to help with any purchase. Just give us a call or drop us an email.


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