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Revealed: the cities where first-time buyers stamp duty is helping most

New data shows which cities offer the biggest savings

First-time home buyers have saved an estimated £159m since stamp duty relief was introduced in England and Northern Ireland in November last year. Now, new data reveals which cities offer the biggest savings.

Under new rules introduced at last year’s Autumn Budget, buyers purchasing their first property pay no stamp duty on homes costing £300,000 or less. First-timers paying £300,001-£500,000 also get a discount.

Which? looks at how much you can save and where the most first-time buyers are claiming relief.

  • If you’re buying your first home, you can get expert financial advice by calling Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461.

£159m saved on stamp duty

Stamp duty is the tax payable when you buy a home in the UK, although Wales and Scotland operate under slightly different systems.

Between the introduction of the new rules in November 2017 and the end of April 2018, first-time buyer stamp duty relief was claimed on 69,100 transactions in England and Northern Ireland. This accounted for around 19% of all home purchases.

In total, buyers saved around £159m, or an average of £2,300 per transaction.

But in some areas, the savings were much higher. Greater London offered the biggest average relief, with buyers saving £4,300 – reflecting higher property prices in the capital. Northern Ireland, by contrast, offered average savings of just £800.

First-time buyer hotspots

First-time buyers flocked to make the most of the relief in large metropolitan towns, such as Birmingham and Bristol.

Birmingham saw the highest number of transactions claiming the first-time buyer relief, at 1,380, followed closely by Leeds and Bristol.

On average, first-time buyers in Birmingham paid £163,099 for their homes, according to data from the Land Registry – meaning most would pay no stamp duty at all.

Highest number of stamp duty tax relief claims

Local authority Number of claims
Birmingham 1,380
Leeds 1,060
City of Bristol 1,010
Manchester 760
Cornwall 640
Central Bedfordshire 620
Cardiff 580
Wiltshire 570
Medway 530
Swindon 520

Bristol emerged as the local authority where the highest amount of relief was claimed, with first-time buyers saving £2.6m. This could be due to the comparatively high price first-time buyers pay in Bristol, at £250,818.

Popular London neighbourhood Croydon was next up, offering first-time buyers savings of £2.1m – which is unsurprising, given first-time buyers pay an average of £315,109 for their homes.

Highest amount saved through stamp duty tax relief

Local authority Amount saved through SDT relief claims
Bristol £2.6m
Croydon £2.1m
Birmingham £2m
Hillingdon £2m
Central Bedfordshire £1.9m
Lewisham £1.9m
Bromley £1.8m
Sutton £1.8m
Newham £1.8m
Havering £1.8m

How does first-time buyer stamp duty relief work?

Under the new rules introduced in November, first-time buyers pay no stamp duty on properties costing £300,000 or less.

If the property costs between £300,001 and £500,000, you’ll pay 5% stamp duty on the amount of the property price above £300,000 – but the first £300,000 is still tax-free.

So, for example, on a £400,000 property, you would pay £5,000 stamp duty in total.

If the property you’re buying costs more than £500,000, you can’t claim any relief at all.

In this case, you’ll pay the standard home mover rates, which are:
• 0% between £0 and £125,000
• 2% between £125,001 and £250,000
• 5% between £250,001 and £925,000
• 10% between £925,001 and £1,500,000
• 12% between £1,500,000.

Not sure how much your bill is likely to be? You can use our stamp duty calculator to work out how much you’ll need to pay.


Other costs when buying your first-home

Paying less – or no – stamp duty relieves a huge financial burden from first-time buyers. But don’t forget to factor in the other costs of purchasing a home.

Depending on which mortgage deal you opt for, you may need to pay for a valuation and mortgage arrangement fee.

It’s also well worth paying for a house survey to detect any hidden problems in the home.

You’ll need to pay a solicitor or conveyancer to complete the purchase on your behalf.

Then, you’ll need to shoulder the costs of moving, including furnishing your new home and paying for removalists. Recent figures put the average cost of moving house at more than £12,000.

You can find out more in our guide to the costs of buying a home.

Need mortgage advice?

An expert broker can help you find the best mortgage for your circumstances.

To request a call-back from Which? Mortgage Advisers, fill in the form below.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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