Figures just released by HMRC have confirmed an increase in property transactions in January 2012, up 23% compared to January 2011. This is undoubtedly being fuelled by first time buyers keen to get onto the property ladder before the 24 March stamp duty exemption deadline.
The data shows there were 64,000 buyers overall in January, up 12,000 from the same month last year, and the highest January level since 2008.
We have seen a similar trend at L&C for borrowers applying for mortgages to finance a house purchase. Looking at first time buyers in particular, applications were up 36% vs. January 2011. It’s not particularly surprising given the huge saving that can be made, thanks to the current stamp duty exemption. Our average first time buyer purchasing a property of £213,000 will save £2,130 by avoiding the 1% stamp duty charge. This will go a long way towards the cost of moving in and furnishing their new home.
Any first time buyer looking to complete their mortgage by 24th March can calculate their saving using our stamp duty calculator. And anyone looking to beat the deadline, who has not yet completed on their sale, should ensure they maintain in close contact with their solicitor, estate agent, mortgage lender and/or broker to ensure there are no last minute hiccups – the price for missing the deadline will, after all, be sizeable.