With the news in the recent Budget that the Chancellor has moved the threshold at which you pay stamp duty when buying a house up to £250,000 for first time buyers, do you meet the criteria required to be a first time buyer? We take a look.
Of some concern is that the Government it seems have a much tighter definition of first time buyer with regard to the Stamp Duty benefit than the definition of first time buyer from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
The end result is that far fewer people are likely to benefit from this Budget ‘freebie’ from the Chancellor. That said the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggest the around half all transactions across all buyers will now be exempt from Stamp Duty tax.
So what are the criteria you need to meet to be a first time buyer?
According to the Government definition of first time buyer you must:
- absolutely never have owned a property before – anywhere, or jointly with someone or via shared ownership with housing associations
- be buying the property as your main residence – it can’t be a buy to let for example
The looser definition from the CML is that you mustn’t own a property already. That’s not to say that you might have previously owned one.
Of course this stamp duty benefit doesn’t help with the issue of getting a first time buyer mortgage. Getting a mortgage is still far more difficult than it was, particularly if you only have a small deposit. There are though some signs of improvement with more first time buyer mortgage products coming back onto the market.