Stamp duty break for first-time buyers 'helps 69,000'

Stamp duty break for first-time buyers 'helps 69,000' (iStock)

The stamp duty exemption announced for first-time buyers in the November Budget has already benefited 69,000 people, according to new official figures. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond's announcement meant that any home worth up to £300,000 could be purchased stamp duty-free by first-time buyers, while the first £300,000 would be free on any home above that price, up to a maximum of £500,000. The government estimated at the time that 80 per cent of first-time buyers would end up paying no stamp duty at all. 

Official figures that have just been released show that up to the end of March, 69,000 first-time buyers have made the most of this exemption. It is now estimated that over the next five years a million more buyers will have benefitted from this scheme. 

The measure is just one of several the government has introduced in a bid to help first-time buyers get out of renting and into home ownership. Others include Help to Buy and Lifetime Isas, the later aimed at helping raise funds for deposits.
Official figures have shown 387,000 people have benefited from Help to Buy and 1.1.million Lifetime ISAs have been opened. 

Financial secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride said: "I’m proud that the cut to stamp duty for first-time buyers is helping to realise the dream of home ownership for a new generation, alongside building more homes in the right areas, and generous schemes such as the Lifetime ISA and Help to Buy."

Commenting on the data, Aldermore Bank's commercial director Charles McDowell said the news was "encouraging" and backed up the bank's own research that predicted 30 per cent of first-time buyers would speed up their initiate purchases if stamp duty was axed. 

However, he cautioned, the lack of affordable housing remains a key issue to be resolved, concluding that the projection of a million beneficiaries over five years "won’t become a reality for those taking their first step on the property ladder if they are priced out of the market".