Figures show that the number of first time buyer’s registering their interest with estate agents have recently fallen to 22% (the same figure recorded at the start of this year).

With house prices rising faster than average national salaries, it seems that it is becoming increasingly difficult for first time buyers to get their foot on the property ladder. However, with a few recent changes introduced by the government, things may start to seem more positive for those looking to buy their first property.

The issues that first time buyers face when trying to enter the property market have been prominent for a while now, and the recent budget has finally faced these problems and attempted to reconcile them.

The most talked about of these changes has been those to Stamp Duty (SDLT) rules. Probably one of the more significant of changes, SDLT is no longer payable by first time buyers on properties under £300,000.

Although there are certain particulars about whether you would qualify for the tax relief (one being that you have never owned any share in a property in the past, including inheriting), for most first time buyers this will be a huge help in reducing the tax bill somewhat, if not completely. You can read up on some further information about the new SDLT rules in our blog here.

Another announcement which was made in the budget was that the government are aiming for 300,000 new homes to be built each year. New homes equal new opportunities to get on the property ladder, and some new developments might offer shared ownership which can serve as a useful option for many first time buyers. The new construction goals will hopefully inspire purchasers, shake up the market and perhaps provide more affordable housing depending on where the new developments are built.

The last major change which has been introduced (although before the recent budget), is the Government Help to Buy ISAs. These accounts are exclusive to first time buyers and are a good way of helping to boost your savings towards buying your first home.

Although there are certain rules surrounding eligibility for and use of these ISAs (you must be a first time buyer and be buying with a mortgage, for example), it is a useful extra which can supplement your own savings by up to 25%. You can find more information in our blog or on the Help to Buy website.

As these new changes start to be applied, hopefully we will see the market become more accessible for first time buyers. Only time will tell!

Sophie Blackwell
Paralegal