Almost 70,000 individuals have benefited from average savings of around £2,300 since Chancellor Philip Hammond introduced a new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief for first-time buyers in his autumn 2017 Budget.
Purchases of up to £500,000 by first-time buyers qualify for the relief, with purchases of up to £300,000 no longer attracting SDLT. Purchases of properties valued between £300,000 and £500,000 now attract SDLT at a rate of five per cent on the value above £300,000.
The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) figures show that there is significant regional variation in how much relief first-time buyers are enjoying. In total, 49 per cent of the overall £159 million in relief was claimed in London and the South East, representing an average saving for first-time buyers in that region of £4,300, nearly twice the national average.
In contrast, first-time buyers in Northern Ireland saved just £800 on average.
Despite the introduction of the new relief for first-time buyers, total SDLT receipts grew for the third consecutive year in 2017-18, reaching £9.3 billion, according to the HMRC figures.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of estate agents body NAEA Propertymark, said: “Sales haven’t rocketed. This could be because first-time buyers are now thought to be holding off on making purchases – typically outside London – opting instead to save for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief. The other reason is that the cost of buying is still very high, and first-time buyers are still finding it difficult to save for their deposit.”