Effective immediately, first homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland looking to purchase a home for £300,000 or less will no longer have to pay stamp duty. Before this budget change, first-time buyers would have to pay up to £5,000 in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). For properties up to £500,000, first-time buyers will now only have to pay stamp duty tax on the last £200,000 at a rate of 5 per cent.[1] Properties above £500,000 will remain unaffected by these changes.[2]

For those looking to step onto the property ladder for the first time in Wales, these changes will only take effect until the end of March 2018.[3] In Scotland, which operates under a separate land tax system, residents will have to wait for the Budget announcement on 14 December from Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.[4]

Mr Hammond said these changes to stamp duty thresholds were introduced to “…revive the home-owning dream in Britain”, adding that the stamp duty cut would affect 95 per cent of all first-time buyers and that 80 per cent of first-time buyers would end up paying no stamp duty at all.[5]

Mr Hammond made a decision to make this a permanent relief, rather than follow the path of formally implemented stamp duty holidays, because “that would only help those ready to purchase now. [Sic] And would offer nothing for the many who will need to save for years”.[6]

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said that existing homeowners are the group most likely to benefit from stamp duty exemptions, though, rather than first-time homeowners. According to their analysis, introducing a relief has historically only served to increase house prices – in this case, there is a predicted 0.3 per cent rise.[7]

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have previously arrived at the same conclusion after an evaluation part way through a stamp duty holiday. It was concluded that the relief led to higher house prices and that it “has not had a significant impact in terms of improving the affordability of residential property for FTBs” (first-time buyers).[8]

As part of this Autumn Budget change, it is estimated that a further 3,500 first homeowners will enter the property market. According to British Bank Halifax, the average stamp duty charge across the UK is £1,654.[9] 

As part of Mr Hammond’s Budget to “…build a Britain fit for the future”, a number of other property changes were also announced, such as the continuation of the help-to-buy scheme with a further £10 billion investment to extend it to 2021 and a commitment to back the National Infrastructure Commission’s vision to build up to one-million homes by 2050.[10]

To find out more about what these changes to stamp duty rates for 2017 and beyond may mean for you, contact your local QualitySolicitors’ property law specialists on 0808 250 2205.



[1] Office for Budget Responsibility, ‘A new tax relief for first-time buyers’ (accessed 23 November 2017) .

[2] Brian Milligan, ‘Budget 2017: What does the stamp duty change mean?’ BBC News (United Kingdom) 22 November 2017 .

[3] Ibid.

[4] Scottish Government, ‘Budget date announced’, 22 September 2017 .

[5] Philip Hammond, ‘Budget 2017 speech in full: Text and video of Philip Hammond's fiscal announcements on tax, the NHS and housing as it happened’ Mirror (United Kingdom) 22 November 2017 .

[6] Ibid.

[7] Office for Budget Responsibility, ‘A new tax relief for first-time buyers’ (accessed 23 November 2017) .

[8] Office for Budget Responsibility, ‘A new tax relief for first-time buyers’ (accessed 23 November 2017) .

[9] Brian Milligan, above as n 2.

[10] Philip Hammond, above as n 5.