In his budget announcement today, the chancellor Alistair Darling has declared that from tomorrow, 25th March 2010, there will be no stamp duty to pay for first-time buyers who are purchasing a property worth less than £250,000. This is planned to continue for two years.
In order to be classed as a first time buyer, you must not have previously owned a property anywhere in the world. If it is a joint purchase, then this must be true for all the buyers. The completion date must be after midnight on 25th March 2010 (and before 25th March 2012).
Whilst this may be good news for those at the bottom end of the market, those at the top end of the market are being hit with the increase that will pay for the relief for first time buyers. The rate for properties worth more than £1m will increase from 4% to 5%, although this would not come in until April 2011. This will obviously have a much bigger impact in London and the South-East, than it will elsewhere.