First-time buyer relief hits govt stamp duty receipts

The property stamp duty bill for the UK has dropped by 7% to just under £12bn, compared to a 10% rise last year, as the effects of first-time buyer relief and an 8% fall in the sale of £1m+ properties begin to take their toll.

According to latest HMRC figures, first-time buyers obtained £521m of stamp duty relief in 2018-19.

AJ Bell personal finance analyst Laura Suter said: “The tax break handed to first-time buyers has hit the government’s coffers, with a total of £521m saved by almost 220,000 people getting their first foot on the ladder in 2018-19.

“Unsurprisingly the relief favours those in London, where property prices are higher, with an average saving of £4,300, compared to £2,400 on average across the UK and £800 in Northern Ireland. The stamp duty surcharge for those buying an additional property has clearly put people off buying, with some landlords choosing to leave the market altogether. The amount the government generated from this extra 3 percentage point charge has fallen by £250m, when compared to 2017-18 – a 6% drop.

“That said, despite a sluggish housing market and the high costs of the stamp duty surcharge, landlords and second-homebuyers are still buying property in London, which accounted for more than a quarter of the total additional homes bought last year. Boris Johnson and new chancellor Sajid Javid have already set their sights on reforming stamp duty to shake-up the property market, with Boris pledging to scrap it on all homes worth £500,000 or less during his Prime Minister campaign. Whether this gets lost in the Brexit quagmire remains to be seen, but the falling tax take and sluggish property market could propel it up the government’s agenda.”

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