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The big news from last week’s Budget was a reduction in Stamp Duty for first-time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. So here, we attempt to answer your questions about first-time buyers and Stamp Duty.

Stamp Duty for first-time buyers – your questions answered

The big news from last week’s Budget was a reduction in Stamp Duty for first-time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Understandably, there have been a lot of questions and many of you have been calling the Money Advice Service to find out what this means for you.

So here, we attempt to answer your questions about first-time buyers and Stamp Duty.

What are the changes to Stamp Duty?

First-time buyers will no longer pay Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000.

If the property is worth between £300,000 and £500,000, you will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000, but will pay the standard 5% on the remaining amount.

For example, if the property is worth £450,000, you will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 and 5% on the remaining £150,000.

Under the old system, first-time buyers would pay £12,500 in Stamp Duty on this £450,000 property. The new system means they will pay just £7,500. 

What is a first-time buyer?

To be classified as a first-time buyer you must never have owned a residential property in the UK or abroad. This includes freeholds and interests in leaseholds.

You must also be purchasing your only or main residence. This means first-time buyers cannot get Stamp Duty relief on buy-to-let properties.

I’m buying my house after 22 November, will I have to pay Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is applied after completion of a sale. So, if you qualify as a first-time buyer, the property is under £500,00 and the deal was finished on or after 22 November, you will benefit from these changes to Stamp Duty.

This includes reserves on new build properties, where you have agreed to buy the property, but the deal has yet to be completed.

I bought my house before 22 November, can I get my Stamp Duty back?

Probably not. If the deal was completed before 22 November, you will have to pay normal rates of Stamp Duty.

However, sometimes people transfer the money for Stamp Duty to their solicitor’s holding account so it can be transferred on completion. In this case, you should be able to get back what you overpaid.

I inherited a house, am I a first-time-buyer?

No. Being a first-time buyer is about ownership, not buying. As you own the house you inherited, you are no longer a first-time buyer.

I was named on the deeds to my parents’ house, am I a first-time-buyer?

Like inheriting a house, being named on the deeds makes you an owner, so you are no longer a first-time buyer.

I’m buying a house with my partner. One of us is a first-time buyer, the other is not. Can we still get Stamp Duty relief?

If you’re married and jointly buying a property, then you both need to be first-time buyers to get Stamp Duty relief.

Unmarried people can still get a reduction in Stamp Duty, if the only person named on the mortgage deed is a first-time buyer.

But, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of:

First, the maximum saving on a property purchase is still £5,000 regardless of the number of names on the mortgage deed.

If the mortgage application is only in one name, it will be based on that person’s income alone, which might impact how much your lender is prepared to lend you.

Second, you need to think about what would happen if you split up. If the property is in both names, you will both have a claim. If the property is only in one name, then it’s possible you or your partner could be left with nothing legally. 

Can I get Stamp Duty relief if I’m purchasing a buy-to-let property?

No. To be a first-time buyer you must be purchasing a property you intend to live in. However, you can still sub-let a spare room and get Stamp Duty relief as long as you intend on living in the property.  

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  • Angela Mackenzie / 20 February

    I’m divorcing and buying a property for myself once the joint property has been sold, will I be categorised as a first time buyer.

  • Emma / 31 January

    I’m buying a house with my partner. One of us is a first-time buyer, the other is not. Can we still get Stamp Duty relief? What if we choose "tenants in common" rather than " joint tenants" on the mortgage. Will my partner get stamp duty first time buyer exemption?

  • david / 29 January

    I bought a flat before getting married- and then I moved into a rented property with my wife. and let out my flat as a buy to let (still in my name).
    My wife is looking to buy a house and we are wondering if it is in her name do we pay stamp duty. (could I be a guarantee on the mortgage) or do we have to buy it together and pay second home tax and stamp duty?

  • Chang Huang / 18 January

    My son is in his final year university. He is the first time buyer. We plan to remortage our own house to release enough fund plus some savings so that he can pay a full cash payment for his first flat (via a solicitor , gifted to my son).
    My question is - Can he rent the flat out after the completion for 1-2 years and then he moves in after the university study and starts working? What is the criteria of "intend to live " in the policy statement. Thank you!


    We would advice checking with a mortgage provider or a solicitor about this. However, what we can say is to benefit from the Stamp Duty relief, your son would have to live in the property, i.e. you can't buy-to-let and get Stamp Duty relief. But, if you live in the property, you are allowed to sub-let. Hope this helps.

  • Barry Scott / 14 January

    I currently own a property with my brother. We have agreed to remove his name and add my partners name. My partner is a first time buyer and the mortgage amount would be 194k. Do we pay any stamp duty and if so how much?

  • Alan Gomez / 9 January

    I have two sons who are both over 21, and now want to get on the property ladder as first time buyers and want to consider taking advantage of the current Stamp Duty exemption on the first 300K band. However the majority of the funds they have available come from a will which was left by their grandmother over 20 years ago and as they were under the age of 18 at that time, the family solicitor was requested to set up a trust to which probate was granted to him and her son-(myself/father to both boys) acting as Trustees and according to the deceased´s Will that the whole of her estate including a property be passed in trust to her grandchildren in equal shares on their attaining the age of eighteen.

    At the time of the Grant both boys- (grandsons) were under eighteen years, the property remained registered in the name of the deceased until transferred by the Trustees in a sale completed just recently- (December 2017). The boys have never owned a property here/or abroad and we just need clarification to see if they can be considered for first-time buyer status? Please let us know as this appears to be a bit of a grey area.

    Many thanks in anticipation and we look forward to your reply and advice.

  • Jane Dakin / 19 December 2017

    My Husband and I have not owned a property or had a mortgage for more than 15 years, we are now buying a new property with a new mortgage, are we classed as first time buyers?


    I'm afraid you're not classed as a first-time buyer. If you have ever bought, inherited or been on the title deeds of a house before you're not a first-time buyer,