Rush to avoid stamp duty
On paper, it’s been a promising start to the New Year. House prices are stable (even going up by a small percentage in some areas) and British Bankers’ Association figures show that the number of mortgages approved in January of this year was 34% higher than in January 2011. However, these figures are likely to have been distorted by the last minute rush by first-time buyers keen to avoid an increase in stamp duty.
Since March 2010, first-time buyers purchasing properties costing between £125,000 and £250,000 have benefited from a stamp duty holiday as the government attempted to kick-start the housing market. But, from 25 March 2012, first-time buyers will be required to pay 1% stamp duty on a property within the same price band.
So, whilst many agents remain positive about the outlook for the coming year, it will be interesting to see what happens to the figures after the 25 March deadline.