Watch: Property expert, Martin Roberts, explains the new rules surrounding stamp duty and how you can use this initiative to your advantage
In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a stamp duty holiday for property buyers in the aim of triggering a recovery of the UK economy.
Until 31 March 2021, buyers will pay no stamp duty on the first £500,000 when they move home. The HM Treasury estimated that this will save nearly 9 out of 10 people getting onto or moving up the property ladder money.
It’s a move that Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts says is very positive – and one all home buyers should take advantage of.
“This is a really positive thing,” he says.
“If you're in the market for buying properties, this is something which you need to act quick on because we don't know how long this window of opportunity will last for and it does actually save you those pound notes.
“There's no trick to it. It's just a window of opportunity designed to stimulate the housing market and hopefully help us all be able to afford our dream home.”
However, not everyone is as positive as Roberts that the Stamp Duty holiday is a good thing.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the impact would be minimal.
“We do not think that a stamp duty holiday alone would stop house prices falling this year,” he wrote in an investment note. “We currently forecast a 5% peak-to-trough decline in prices.”
During previous recessions when stamp duty was abolished, house sales initially rose but this was followed by a downturn when the holiday ended. It also saw some sellers raising their prices to the same amount of the tax saving, benefitting vendors as opposed to buyers.
However, the Treasury recently released figures saying that not only had house sales risen by 15.6%, but the rise in sales had also supported nearly 750,000 jobs.
Mike Fairman, CEO at Checkatrade, said: “Since the Government’s stamp duty changes came into effect earlier this year, we’ve seen record numbers of home improvement enquiries to the site suggesting that consumers are planning to reinvest their stamp duty savings straight back into their homes.”
One thing Roberts is keen to remind buyers off is that this is for first-time buyers or people selling and moving on. If you’re buying a second property or are an investor, you’ll still have to pay something.
“For people who are buying their second house or investors buying further house other than their main principle point of residence you have to pay an additional 3% stamp duty and that hasn't changed,” he advises.
Watch: Martin Roberts shares his top tips on finding your dream house