The ‘stamp duty holiday’ announcement by the government to encourage house buyers to get moving again, could make now the perfect time to buy your dream home! With this news it’s hardly surprising in July the UK housing market experienced a “mini-boom” with house prices rising 1.6% month-on-month, the biggest rise this year after being flat in June. Compared with a year ago, prices were 3.8% higher – the largest annual increase since January**.
It’s time to visit your local estate agent and start preparing your finances in anticipation of getting your mortgage organised.
So, what has changed with stamp duty?
If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you will pay nothing in stamp duty providing you buy for less than £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before. For more details go to: Stamp Duty Land Tax: temporary reduced rates
The Stamp duty holiday relates to England and Northern Ireland. Scotland and Wales set their own land taxes, so rules vary depending on where you are buying.
Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) rules in Scotland
Scotland has increased the threshold at which home buyers must pay LBTT to £250,000, up from £145,000 (£175,000 for first-time buyers). This came into effect on 15th July and will stay in place until the end of March 2021. Someone buying a £250,000 property in Scotland, for example, would save £2,100 in LBTT. So although not as generous it is a helping hand.
What if you’re buying a second property in Scotland?
Second-home buyers in Scotland will also benefit from the reduction in LBTT but they will still be subject to a 4% surcharge.
Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales
Homebuyers in Wales also see the level at which LTT becomes payable rise to £250,000. This came into effect from 27th July. Up until then, no stamp duty is payable on properties costing up to £180,000. This change means that if you are buying for £250,000 you would save £2,450. This arrangement will stay on force until 31st March 2021.
What if you’re buying a second property in Wales
Whereas in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, homebuyers purchasing additional properties will benefit from the temporary higher stamp duty thresholds, those in Wales won’t.
LTT thresholds in Wales will remain unchanged for those buying additional properties with buyers needing to pay the extra 3% surcharge.
You’ll have to hurry, it’s a fast moving market
Are you one of the many house hunting for your dream home, while frantically throwing toys into cupboards and plumping cushions so mask-wearing strangers can view your home?
If so, you need to make the house buying process as quick, easy and straightforward as possible…
Preparation is key
I don’t mean repainting the kitchen. I mean your finances…
Spring clean your direct debits and cancel anything you don’t need or use.
For instance, some gyms have frozen their monthly subscriptions during lockdown. If you have found alternative ways to exercise why not take a break from them?
Seemingly small changes to your outgoings can really help with the affordability calculations all mortgage companies now use.
Get a handle on your debt.
Pay off whatever you can and make sure you have a clear idea of what you have and where it is. If your mortgage application does not match what your credit check says, you may hit a problem with your application.
Find out what your credit rating is.
You can check it easily and if there is something showing that is incorrect, you can sort it out before making your application.
Make sure you have considered all your options and providers
There are lots of differences between mortgages, rates, penalties, application fees, porting, and cashback, to name a few. Plus, mortgage companies work out what they will lend you in different ways, so the figure you can borrow can vary widely from lender to lender.
To ensure you are getting the mortgage that really does best suit your needs and gets you into the house you want, speak to your financial adviser. Remember looking online or speaking to just your bank narrows your options. This is a commitment that will last for years and the wrong choice could prove expensive.
Get in touch and we can quickly gather all the information we need to help you decide on the right mortgage for you, so you too can take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before it’s too late. Remember, the stamp duty holiday ends at the end of March 2021!
Always remember your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Does the government’s ‘stamp duty holiday’ incentive encourage you to move house? Let us know by adding a comment below.