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Property: Stamp duty changes mean it’s a great time to be a home buyer

AS PART of a package of measures aimed at boosting an economy frozen by the impact of Covid-19, last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a stamp duty holiday.

Following a 50 per cent fall in transactions in May and the first drop in house prices in eight years, he hopes to get the property market moving by temporarily abolishing stamp duty when buying a main home priced up to £500,000 in England or Northern Ireland.

The previous threshold was £125,000, or £300,000 for first-time buyers, and the reduction — which came into effect immediately and will run for nearly nine months, until March 31 next year -will shave £4,500 off the average stamp duty bill and a whopping £15,000 reduction when purchasing a property for £500,000 or more. Home movers now pay no duty on a £250,000 or £450,000 home — when they previously would have been liable for £2,500 or £12,500 respectively. On a £750,000 home, first-timers and home movers will pay £12,500 instead of £27,500.

First-time buyers, who previously benefited from a reduction in stamp duty on homes between £300,000 and £500,000, stand to save £7,500 on a £450,000 home.

Property portal Zoopla has found that, prior to the announcement, 16 per cent of property sales in England were exempt from stamp duty as they fell under £125,000. The nil-rate band now covers an extra 73 per cent of sales. ‘Nine out of ten transactions in England will no longer be subject to the tax and in London and the South East, home to more expensive properties, homebuyers can save up to £15,000,’ says Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s research and insight director.

The £2billion Green Homes Grant is another initiative from the Chancellor. From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers towards the cost of making their homes more energy efficient and therefore cheaper to run.

Households will receive a grant of up to £5,000 to cover at least two thirds of the cost (those on low incomes will get the full cost paid, up to £10,000) and should expect to save as much as £300 per year on their bills. The announcement came a week after confirmation from the Government that the new £12billion Affordable Homes Programme will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes, including shared ownership and social rent. It starts next year and will lead to a further £38billion in public and private investment in affordable housing.

Totteridge Place, Whetstone, N20

Two-bed apartments from £599,950

Stamp duty: £4,997

Stamp duty saving: £15,000

These high-spec homes are a stone’s throw from Whetstone station and the normally buzzy high road. They come with private balconies, two bathrooms, Sonos sound systems and have flooring, curtains and blinds fitted throughout, crestnicholson.com

Upton Gardens, Upton Park, E13

Four-bed duplexes from £569,000

Stamp duty: £3,450

Stamp duty saving: £15,000

Moments from Upton Park station, each of these spacious homes is spread over two floors and includes a south-facing roof terrace. Kitchen/living spaces are on the upper level with three of the bedrooms below, and Help to Buy is available, barrattlondon.com

Trinity Walk, Woolwich, SE10

Three-bed apartments from £530,000

Stamp duty: £1,500

Stamp duty saving: £15,000

Austwick Court is the first building in the final phase of this large-scale development, a five-minute walk from Woolwich Arsenal DLR and the forthcoming Crossrail station. Every home offers at least one balcony and the option of Help to Buy, trinitywalk-woolwich.com.

Harrow View West, Harrow, HA2

From £595,000

Stamp duty: £4,750

Stamp duty saving: £15,000

A range of three, four and five-bed family houses with open plan layouts and plenty of storage. Harrow & Wealdstone station is just over half a mile away, a number of Ofsted-rated outstanding schools are close by and London Help to Buy is on offer, persimmonhomes.com

Stamp duty savings calculated for home movers (not first-time buyers)