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Stamp Duty Announement Helpful but No Quick Fix for Property Market

Mar 29, 2010

Yesterday’s budget included a measure aimed at helping first time buyers return to the market, with the removal of stamp duty for all properties with a purchase price of £250,000 or less.

James Bawa, chief executive of Wimborne-based Teachers Building Society, said he welcomed the move, though it clearly is not going to turn around the property market overnight.

“This measure will certainly go some way to helping help first-time buyers but ongoing issues, such as the need for a significant deposit and job security, still remain,” James says. “The expected public sector spending cuts and the subsequent impact on jobs and the wider economy continue to be an overriding concern. Restricting the stamp duty exemption for first time buyers only as opposed to all purchasers is also disappointing.”

Teachers Building Society specialises in providing mortgages for people working in the education sector and particularly aims to help teachers take their first step on the property ladder.

James says, “I would like to see more initiatives introduced to help people buy homes and until first time buyers are able to return to the market in force, I don’t think we’ll see any significant movement in the property market.

“Even with this latest announcement, the stamp duty ‘slab’ system remains in need of an overhaul. It seems pretty unfair that a property bought by a first time buyer for £249,999 is now exempt but one bought for £1 more will be subject to a stamp duty tariff of 3%, which is £7,500.”

However, there is another solution for some first time buyers and that is HomeBuy Direct. This government scheme provides an interest-free loan for up to 30% of the purchase price of a property, though only for specific new-build properties.

James explains, “HomeBuy Direct is a helpful new scheme and at Teachers, we’re providing eligible applicants with a mortgage for 70% of the purchase price, so assuming they receive a government-backed loan for the maximum 30%, no deposit is needed.”

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