This is a positive step and shows that the government have been listening. The goal should be to increase home ownership statistics across the UK, and to minimise the numbers of the population caught within the rental trap, also going some way to solving the looming crisis of pensioners who don't own their own homes.
For most people outside of London, the vast majority of first-time purchases will fall well below the £300,000 threshold for taxation – we're talking above 95%. However, in the capital, 70% of first-time purchases exceed the threshold. Those buying properties over £500,000 will not be entitled to relief, and for those buying properties over £300,000 the new stamp duty rate will be 5% on the portion above the threshold.
Of course some have been critical of the move, and whilst there is no pleasing some, there is a legitimate need to address supply side issues in the housing market. At an individual level, first-time buyers will in the main be glad to save some money during the transaction process when it is difficult to get together the funds required. But we also need more homes to be built.
Although there has been an increase in interest rates, mortgage rates are still very low, so now is a good time to fix a rate and make a purchase. Help to buy is still a major factor helping not just first-time buyers – especially when you're buying a new home. It's also worth saying that when buying a new home, outgoings in the short and medium term are far more predictable – most new properties come with a warranty, so you're not likely to have to spend significantly on maintenance costs for years. To take advantage of the stamp duty relief, why not get in touch for a chat about your personal circumstances and your ideal home?