The Chancellor announced important changes to stamp duty in his recent mini-budget. But what do these changes mean for the Cornish property market, and how might that impact the outlook for those considering buying or selling in the months ahead?
Below, our experienced estate agents in St Ives and Wadebridge put the national stamp duty changes in a local context.
What changes to stamp duty have just been announced?
Stamp duty is the tax you pay when buying a property. The amount is dependent on the value of the property, and whether or not you are a first time buyer.
In his autumn mini-budget, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced some major changes to stamp duty rates. They come into effect immediately and (unlike the previous ‘stamp duty holiday’) are permanent. The two main headlines to be aware of are:
- The price at which stamp duty is paid doubled from £125,000 to £250,000. This means that on any property under £250,000, no stamp duty will be due at all.
- For first time buyers, stamp duty will only apply on property above £425,000 (previously it was £300,000).
The new stamp duty rates are:
- 0%: £0 – £250,000 (£425,000 for first time buyers)
- 5%: £250,000 – £925,000*
- 10%: £925,000 – £1,500,000
- 12%: £1,500,000+
*For first-time buyers, if the home you’re buying is priced below £625,000, you’ll still pay no stamp duty on the portion of the property priced below £425,000. You’ll pay 5% on the portion priced above this.
According to Rightmove: “These changes will reduce stamp duty bills across the board for all home-movers by up to £2,500, with first-time buyers able to save up to £11,250.”
How might the changes affect the Cornish property market?
The reduction to stamp duty is likely to increase demand for homes here in Cornwall, as it will elsewhere in the country. Moving up the property ladder has just become slightly more affordable, bringing the dream of a new home one step closer. We’re expecting to see lots of interest in the mid-market in particular.
For first-time buyers, the savings are there if you have the money to take the plunge. However, raising the stamp duty threshold from £300,000 to £425,000 will affect very few such buyers in Cornwall, where the average cost of a first-time home was £257,000 in the last year.
House prices in Cornwall remain high, although growth in prices has slowed recently. The high prices are partly caused by a lack of supply; this kind of market stimulation could help address that, bringing more properties onto the market and giving buyers more choice.
Because the changes are permanent, we’re unlikely to see the fevered activity of the stamp duty holiday of 2020/21. The cost of living crisis and rising mortgage rates will also dampen down enthusiasm on the housing market over the next few months.
I’m thinking of buying or selling? What does all this mean for me?
If you’ve been thinking of putting your home on the market, then there’s no time like the present! With more buyers looking around having re-evaluated their budget, the changes could help you secure a good sale at a time when prices may have plateaued.
The increase in the price before stamp duty kicks in (now £250,000 rather than £125,000) also means you’ll have more of your own budget to play with as you move up the housing ladder.
For first-time buyers hopefully things just got a little easier, although the climate remains challenging. Be sure to have that mortgage offer in place before you find your dream home, as some lenders are changing their product offering at the moment in anticipation of further interest rate rises.
Here at Harding Laity, we understand that buying or selling a home is a unique decision dictated by complex personal circumstances, as well as things like stamp duty changes. If you’re thinking about exploring your options, you might find this article useful.
If you’re considering getting a no-obligation appraisal, click here to find out more about Cornwall’s independent estate agent, with offices in St Ives and Wadebridge.