No stamp duty for First Time Purchasers on property purchases of up to a value of £300,000. The Chancellors Autumn budget is aimed at trying to support first time buyers in trying to get their foot on property market but does it really make any difference?

A first time buyer is defined as any person who has never owned an interest in a residential property prior to the purchase. In Northern Ireland the average house purchase price is £140,000 and therefore the Chancellors announcement will result in an average saving for first time purchasers of £400. However, in Tyrone and Fermanagh the average house purchase price is £120,000 which is already below the Stamp Duty threshold, which is £125,000, and therefore no Stamp Duty is payable.

Fox Law believe that the Chancellors announcement does little to help the property market in Tyrone and Fermanagh with the majority of First Time Purchasers having not to pay stamp duty in any event.

Already, the Office of Budget Responsibility has warned that the likely consequence of the Chancellor’s announcement will lead to house prices’ increasing. The risk that this creates is a potential return to inflated house prices risking another property bubble and increasing interest rates in what still is still a fragile housing market. The Chancellor has failed to recognise that a significant problem in areas like Tryone and Fermanagh is that those First Time Buyers who purchased their homes in 2007/2008, ‘the boom time’, are still unable to move up the property ladder as they still face the prospect of having limited or even negative equity in their property.

Time will tell if the Chancellor’s cash injection to the Building trade will assist in dealing with the demand for new houses but the details provided to date do not provide any details of how the money will benefit Northern Ireland. Without an up and running executive it is difficult to see how any real benefit will reach Northern Ireland.

For First Time Buyers looking to getting financial help with their purchases we would suggest looking at Help- To-Buy or Lifetime ISA as the best way of trying to get a little extra help with that First Purchase. Fox Law also provided a Fixed Price Conveyancing service to help those buyers budget effectively for their purchase.

The announcement therefore looks set to do very little but perhaps to trigger a property market acceleration bumping up the UK housing stock prices as we head towards the Brexit precipice. The announcement certainly is not what it seems.


Stamp duty is a land tax that is charged on the purchase of property or land. The rate you pay varies on the value of the property.

Fox Law