End of stamp duty amnesty causes rush to buy
News at Best UK Mortgages

23/02/2012 - First time buyers have until March to apply

The withdrawal of the amnesty on stamp duty for first-time buyers has resulted in a last minute rush as buyers hope to complete before the deadline for new applications. An increase in sales from 21 per cent to 23 per cent in the months from December to January, this was the third monthly rise in a row and the highest percentage since May 2011.

The two-year holiday on stamp duty comes to an end in March. Currently the stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers was increased from £125,000 to £250,000. The NAEA said that the amnesty was a "key factor" for those attempting to purchase a property and appealed to the Government to extend the term to aid the fragile housing market.

Figures looked at by HSBC found that first-time buyer mortgages taken out since March 2010 and the end of 2011 found that almost half were for a home which would normally have been liable for stamp duty.

There were around 64,000 home sales in the UK in January 2012 representing the highest figure for the first month of the year since January 2008. A spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders said that first-time buyers rushing to complete deals had been helping to boost mortgage lending to 10per cent higher than in January2011.

The NAEA's report also showed that the number of house hunters registering decreased slightly, with 260 per branch in January compared with 294 in December. The NAEA said reluctant sellers had raised concerns about the economic outlook and also mentioned the difficulty they had in obtaining a value for money mortgage.

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