London first-time buyers struggle to benefit from stamp duty exemption

Many first-time buyers looking to buy a home in the capital are struggling to find properties that qualify for the recent stamp duty exemption incentive.

Research from HouseSimple shows there are only 387 homes for sale in London’s Travel Zones 1 and 2 currently priced low-enough for buyers to be able to take advantage of the tax relief.

Homes must sell for less than £300,000 to ensure there is no stamp duty liability, but it seems London buyers may need to widen their search to take full advantage.

Within Zone 3, the study shows there are 1,235 properties that meet the criteria, but heading to Croydon, which is in Zone 5-6, there are 795 properties – the largest number in any London borough.

Alternatively, first-time buyers could still get some stamp duty relief even on properties priced up to £500,000.

HouseSimple chief executive officer Sam Mitchell, said: “Even a stamp duty saving of £5,000 on properties up to £500,000, which is not something to be sniffed at, won’t be much help if first time buyers don’t have the funds in the first place to put down substantial deposits needed to buy even a basic starter home in Inner London.”

He added many young professionals are forced to buy in outer London areas and endure long commutes, and this could eventually lead to other cities being more attractive.