4 Jan

Mystery as PM claims 16,000 first-time buyers have already benefited from Stamp Duty exemption after just six weeks

More than 16,000 first-time buyers have already benefited from the Stamp Duty exemption announced just six weeks ago, the Government claims.


The alleged figures were revealed during a visit yesterday to Wokingham, Berkshire, by Prime Minister Theresa May where she saw first-time buyer Laura, who has purchased a Help to Buy property from Barratt Homes.


However, it is not clear where the figures have come from.
Official statistics do track completed home sales, but do not release information on deals which are still going through, for example where offers have been accepted – let alone what category of buyer has made the offer.


In the Budget, Stamp Duty was abolished for first-time buyers paying up to £300,000, or on the first £300,000 on properties worth up to £500,000.
An accompanying press pack was released yesterday as May visited the Wokingham development, also claiming that over 16,000 first-time buyers have benefited from the exemption.


May said that the Stamp Duty abolition has had an “immediate impact” with thousands of people already making savings.
You can view the PM sipping tea with Laura in the video below, but while we are happy to see someone get on the property ladder, EYE has queried the Government figures.


The latest publicly available data on property transactions from HMRC is for November and it typically takes around two to three months to complete a purchase, so it seems a bit early for so many to have benefited from a policy announced only on November 22.
The period since has also included the ‘down times’ of Christmas and New Year.


HMRC figures show 99,540 transactions during November, with the Stamp Duty exemption applying for first-time buyers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the last eight days of the month.
It seems unlikely that 16,000 sales suddenly completed in those final eight days of November after the Stamp Duty announcement, so EYE is unclear where the figures originate as no other official data have been published to cover the period since the Budget.
A Downing Street spokesman referred us to HMRC, which has so far failed to comment.


May said: “I have made it my personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership for people up and down the UK.


“In the autumn we set out ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market and make sure young people have the same opportunities as their parents’ generation to own their own home.


“This has had an immediate impact, with thousands of people already making savings thanks to our stamp duty cut, and over a million first-time buyers over the next five years are expected to save money that they can put towards a deposit, solicitors’ fees or furniture.


“We are building a Britain that is fit for the future and our message to the next generation is this: getting on – and climbing up – the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents’ past, but a reality for your future.”

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