Charlie Wenborne How the Stamp Duty Cut Affects First-Time Buyers

How the Stamp Duty Cut Affects First-Time Buyers | Giles Wilson - Giles Wilson Solicitors

In light of the recent Budget announcements, it has been confirmed that first-time buyers can now benefit from an exemption of Stamp Duty Land Tax liability on the purchase of their first property, as long as the purchase price is £300,000 or under. Particular exemptions have also been introduced for purchases of properties worth up to £500,000.

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax?

Stamp Duty Land Tax, also known as SDLT, is a tax which applies to all purchases of properties above £125,000 and, in some instances, can even include properties worth less than this amount. SDLT has various rules and exemptions that cover a range of areas, including the purchase of ‘second properties’ which are not your main residence, and companies purchasing property. The government have now taken steps to include first-time buyers in these rules. 

How is SDLT Usually Charged?

Most standard purchases – such as the purchase of a main residence – are charged on a sliding scale, taking into account the purchase price in “portions” as follows:

Purchase Price

SDLT rate

Up to £125,000


The next £125,000 (£125,001 to £250,000)


The next £675,000 (£250,001 to £925,000)


The next £575,000 (£925,001 to £1.5 million)


The remaining amount (above £1.5 million)


What Effect has the Budget had on SDLT? Previously, this has meant that for the average house price in the Southend district, an SDLT liability of around £3,500 would be incurred; a significant obstacle preventing many people from taking their first step on to the property ladder.

For those purchasers who have not owned a property before, there has never been a better time to look at buying a home. As of 22nd November, any first-time purchases of a property up to £300,000 will be exempt from SDLT charges. SDLT is usually a fee covered by the buyer themselves and so by removing this liability, it becomes much easier for buyers to save up the funds needed to cover the deposit and other expenses of a house purchase.

If the buyer is looking to purchase a property over £300,000 but for under £500,000, then the SDLT rules have been altered to reflect the exemption partially. This means that the first £300,000 of the purchase price is ignored for SDLT purposes, with any remaining amount being charged at the 5% rate. 

It is important to note that any purchases of properties over £500,000 would not benefit from any exemption and would incur the full SDLT as per the above table.

What if I am Buying Jointly with a Person Who Already Owns Property?

Unfortunately, if any purchaser owns or has ever owned a property then the exemption is not able to be applied.

What Other Options Do I Have as a First-Time Buyer?

There are various schemes which are run by the government in order to help people get their foot on the property ladder. The Help to Buy schemes contribute to the purchase funds of certain properties, and the Help to Buy ISA Scheme can assist in topping up savings for purchasing a home. There are also various shared ownership schemes in the area which can help you buy a part of a property and allow you to purchase a larger share at a later date. 

How Giles Wilson Can Help You

At Giles Wilson, we are in a prime position to assist you in buying your first home and are happy to answer any questions you may have in respect of Stamp Duty Land Tax or other avenues available to first-time buyers. We appreciate that the process of buying a house can be daunting and will always do everything we can to talk you through how purchases are usually carried out.   

Our dedicated team are on hand to get you moved in as quickly as possible and make the purchase as stress-free as we can. With specialists in a full-range of legal fields, we are also able to handle issues that you may not even consider when buying your first home, such as putting in place a Will or protecting your money when more than one person is contributing to the purchase funds.

The rules regarding SDLT can be quite complex, not only when considering first-time buyers, but for all property purchases. It is therefore essential that you ensure you have a full picture of how much the tax bill will be at the outset of a matter and seek professional advice in this regard.

Our Property team based in Leigh-on-Sea and Rochford can be contacted on 01702 477106 to discuss any queries you have in this regard and also provide a comprehensive estimate which will include all usual expenses on a standard purchase matter, including SDLT. Alternatively, you can email us at

Awards & Recognitions

The expertise of our solicitors is regularly recognised by some of the profession’s most distinguished organisations. As well as being a member of a number of Law Society schemes, we won awards at the 2015 Law Society Excellence Awards, the Halsbury Legal Awards and the Modern Law Awards. We have also received recognition in the form of the Lexcel mark of quality, a Legal 500 listing and a place on the shortlist of The Lawyer’s Boutique Firm of the Year.

Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson