Getting on the housing ladder for the first time is exciting, and also a little daunting.
There are so many things to consider, deposits, mortgage rates, estate agents, solicitors and chains but also where are you going to put your collectibles that your parents “didn’t have space to display”, what sort of fridge and TV should you buy. At the bottom of the long list of considerations there is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), often forgotten about but something that could add a considerable cost to your purchase.
What is SDLT?
SDLT is a tax payable by the purchaser of land and property in England and Northern Ireland, there are similar taxes for purchases in Scotland and Wales. Although they are similar, they do differ and are not covered in this article.
SDLT is payable based on the price you are paying for the house and works in bands with the rate increasing as the purchase price increases.
What are the current rates of SDLT?
The current rates of SDLT are:
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
|The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5m)||10%|
|The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5m)||12%|
First Time Buyers Relief
Most people buying their first home do not, and have not, owned any other property previously. Due to this they may qualify for First Time Buyers Relief, which reduces the amount of SDLT due on your purchase potentially to nil.
To qualify you must not have previously owned any residential property, if you are purchasing jointly then this must be the case for all purchasers. You must also be purchasing a property for £625,000 or less. Finally, the property must be purchased for use as your main residence.
If this is the case, then great! You will have access to an increased nil rate band for SDLT.
This means that if you purchase a property for £425,000 or less then you pay no SDLT at all.
For properties between £425,000 and £625,000 the rate of SDLT is 5% of the amount above £425,000. For example, a purchase of £525,000 would attract SDLT of £5,000.
These thresholds are due to reduce from 1 April 2025 back to £300,000 and £500,000 respectively.
Own another property – maybe via a trust?
When considering if you are a first-time buyer, it may not be as straightforward as it seems. If you already own a rental property, then this is clear cut. But what about if there is a family trust holding rental properties or relatives’ residences, maybe you are a beneficiary? Does this come into play?
This is a complex area, but in general if the purchaser has a life interest or an interest in the position of Trust property containing a residential property this would preclude a claim for First Time Buyers relief. If the trust is instead Discretionary in nature, then that will not prevent a claim for the relief.
Bank of Mum and Dad
With the increase in house prices, it has become more and more common for parents to help with the deposit or to even be named on the mortgage.
If this assistance is by way of a cash gift to the purchasers, then this will not impact on the SDLT position.
Care should however be taken if parents or others are going to be named on the mortgage. If they are then going to be included on the title of the property, and so effectively a joint purchaser then this will have an impact. They would have to be considered when deciding if First Time Buyers relief is available, and in most cases this would prevent the relief applying.
Also, if they own another residential property on the date of completion, again a likely position, this will result in the higher rates of SDLT applying, adding a 3% SDLT cost to the purchase.
Buying your first home is an exciting time and so should bring joy. It is worth making sure that you are aware of the SDLT cost, or hopefully relief, available to you to ensure that your purchase can go through without any drama.
If you have any questions about the above, or would like more information specific to your circumstances, please enter your email address below and we will get in touch: