It was a highly anticipated Spring Statement, which the nation was looking towards, for ways in which the government would look to navigate out of the economic destruction, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were few surprises after much of the content had already been leaked, yet for the housing market, it was the announcement around the Stamp Duty holiday that was key.

Take a look at our commentary on what the budget meant for the residential property market.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday extension:

Revealed by The Times ahead of the statement, the Stamp Duty holiday was one of the most anticipated announcements to be made by the Chancellor. Since the tax-saving relief was introduced in July 2020, many buyers have scrambled to take up this once in a blue moon opportunity. This has led to a significant increase in transactions times and subsequently left many buyers wondering if they’d complete before the March 31st deadline.

It was pertinent for the government to come up with a way in which buyers wouldn’t miss out, yet also not simply delay a cliff-edge scenario when the next deadline came about. Therefore, the Chancellor announced a three-month extension, with a slight tapering from 1 July to 30 September, during which time the SDLT threshold would be £250,000. On 1 October this would change to the previous threshold of £125,000.

See below for a full breakdown of the revised SDLT thresholds and for which period these apply. Source: gov.uk

Property purchases from 8 July 2020 to 30 June 2021
The current SDLT threshold for residential properties is £500,000. This changes on 1 July 2021.

Property purchases from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021
The SDLT thresholds will be:
• £250,000 for residential properties

Property purchases from 1 October 2021
The SDLT thresholds will be:
• £125,000 for residential properties

These thresholds are the same as they were before 8 July 2020. See below.

Property or lease premium or transfer valueSDLT rate
Up to £125,000Zero
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)2%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)12%

First-time buyers
You can claim a discount (relief) if you buy your first home from 1 July 2021. This means you’ll pay:

• no SDLT up to £300,000
• 5% SDLT on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000

You’re eligible if you and anyone else you’re buying with are first-time buyers.

If the price is over £500,000, you follow the rules for people who’ve bought a home before.

95% Mortgage Guarantee scheme

Before the pandemic, many lenders were offering 95% mortgages intending to support first-time buyers (FTBs) getting onto the property ladder. Yet, these were quickly removed when the UK went into its first lockdown. Since then, most lenders have only offered buyers up to a maximum of 90% Loan to Value (LTV) products meaning buyers have had to stump up at least 10% deposits.

On Wednesday (3rd March) the Chancellor announced a new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme, bringing back the 95% LTV products that had almost vanished. The scheme is set to launch in April 2021 and will see buyers now able to purchase a home with just a 5% deposit. What’s more, unlike previous Help to Buy schemes this isn’t just focussed on FTBs, it will be available to all buyers of properties costing up to £600,000 and will not be exclusive to new build properties.

Rightmove’s analysts have managed to highlight that 86% of properties currently listed for sale on its site have an asking price of £600,000 or less. Meaning many buyers could look to take up this scheme.

The Chancellor also said many of the big lenders, including Santander, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC are backing the scheme and will be offering “government-guaranteed” mortgages from next month.

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