House buyers in Norfolk to benefit from changes to stamp duty

Picture: Simon Finlay

Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Estate agents have said that first time property buyers in Norfolk will benefit from the changes to stamp duty announced in the government's autumn budget.

With immediate effect stamp duty, a fee paid to the government when a home is bought, will be abolished for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000 or on the first £300,000 of a property worth up to £500,000.

The average property price in Norfolk currently stands at around £250,000, which means many first time buyers will no longer need to pay stamp duty, potentially saving them over £2,000.

Elton Macguire, branch manager of Haart in Dereham, said: 'Hopefully this will boost the market next year and help people that really need it to get on the property ladder for the first time.

'This change could give first time buyers a nice head start and we're hoping it means people can buy a property sooner rather than later as they will no longer need those extra six months to a year where they'd normally have to save for stamp duty funds.'

Isabelle Glover, an estate agent for Pure North Norfolk, also said she expects Norfolk to benefit from the change.

'I think it is great and a positive change that will help people across Norfolk,' she said.

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When Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the measure at the House of Commons on Wednesday, he said: 'When we said we would revive the home owning dream in Britain, we meant it.'

However the economic watchdog, Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), has warned that the measure may not be as beneficial as it initially appears and it could lead to a rise in property prices of about 0.3pc, with the largest increase coming in 2018.

This means that some first-time buyers could find themselves paying more than they otherwise would.

In an interview with Sky News, shadow chancellor John McDonnell also criticised the change. 'You only do that when you are increasing housing supply and if you don't increase housing supply, exactly as the OBR is saying, prices will go up,' he said.

Mr Hammond has rejected the criticisms and highlighted that the government has also pledged to also invest an additional £15 billion into housing with the goal of building 300,000 new homes each year by the mid-2020s.