Stamp Duty Cut Announced

Alastair Darling announced a change in stamp duty charged on house purchases in his last pre-election budget.  The changes are not actually a cut but a change in the rates – removing stamp duty for first time buyers buying up to £250,000 but increasing the rates for purchases over £1m. In practice for Scotland, however, this is effectively a cut for most if not all first time buyers.  But will this change stimulate a pretty subdued market? Property professionals seem mostly to feel the change may help somewhat. “In the property market the last two years have been full of mostly bad news – so anything positive is a bit of a help.  Certainly a big cost will be removed for many first time buyers – and that can only be good” says Sandy Macfarlane, mortgage broker at Caesar and Howie.  “But I’d like to see the Scottish government letting us know how much money they are going to make available under the Lift scheme this year.  That did help a lot of my clients last year and I hope it will do so again this year.  On balance if Lift monies come available again from April – with the stamp duty cut now  also in place – there should be more activity seen in the first time buyer sector.” This view is confirmed by Sebastian Kedziora – who works with Caesar and Howie’s many Polish clients buying houses in Scotland and indeed in the UK.  “A large number of would be Polish buyers didn’t get the loans they wanted under Lift last year – because of the rationing of funds.  If new tranches of money become available under Lift this year I predict many more Poles will be buying houses in Scotland.” See See