Historic SDLT cuts have done little to help would-be London homeowners, says RICS

New research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggests that the historic Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) cuts announced in the November Budget have done little to improve the home-buying prospects of first-time buyers in London.

On 23 November 2017, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced that first-time buyers would no longer need to pay SDLT on properties valued up to £300,000.

However, analysis from the RICS suggests that in London, there is a total of only 387 properties located in zones one and two of the City which are advertised for sale at £300,000 or less.

The RICS has been quick to point out that this is representative of less than one per cent of London’s property market.

Separate research from online property agent HouseSimple suggests otherwise, claiming that there are at least 5,961 London homes currently available for below the £300,000 threshold.

However, this is still representative of only a very small segment of the market, the organisation has been keen to point out.

The Chancellor’s move in the Autumn Budget also introduced a cut for first-time buyers purchasing properties up to £500,000 – who now no longer need to pay SDLT on the first £300,000 of the value of such homes.

However, with HouseSimple’s research indicating that there are little over 20,000 homes in London available in this price bracket, concerns have been raised that Mr Hammond’s SDLT cuts are still insufficient.

A first-time buyer purchasing a home worth between £300,000 and £500,000 will typically save around £5,000 – but HouseSimple claims that this still “won’t be much help” for buyers who typically “don’t have the funds… to put down substantial deposits.”

“The Chancellor wheeled out his big tax break offering to help first-time buyers and attract young voters. Unfortunately for the young London buyer, the Stamp Duty cut, while beneficial to large swathes of the country, won’t make much of a dent in their house buying budget,” said Sam Mitchell, Chief Executive at HouseSimple.

Meanwhile, the RICS’ research reveals that as many as 86 per cent of its members feel that there has been little or no change in the number of first-time buyers enquiring about properties since the SDLT changes were introduced.

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