The cuts to stamp duty are incentivising first-time buyers to purchase property, with an increase in the number of first-time buyers securing property in December 2017.

According to figures released by NAEA Propertymark, first-time buyers accounted for 32% of property sales in the last month of 2017, an increase on the previous month, where first-time buyers accounted for 27% of property sales.  

Generally speaking, there is an increase in sales market activity once we step into January, while December is traditionally a slower month for buyer activity.  

Mark Hayward, the Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “We see this, year in, year out. Buyers take a back seat in December to enjoy the festivities, while sellers keep their homes on the market in the hope that someone will take interest and make an offer.” 

Hayward continued: “What we don’t usually see is first-time buyers capitalising on this slump and using it to their advantage – 44% of our members think that the Chancellor’s stamp duty cut for first-time buyers will encourage more to make offers, and it looks like that’s what we’re starting to see.” 

It is positive to see a higher proportion of potential first-time buyers capitalising on the stamp duty cuts. But in London in particular, and this includes Islington, Stoke Newington, Newington Green and Highbury, first-time buyers may struggle to find a property which allows them exemption from stamp duty.  

When the Chancellor announced the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers last November, this took immediate effect. But it is only relevant for first-time buyers purchasing property worth up to £300,000, while the usual 5% stamp duty rate applies when buying property worth between £300,000 and £500,000. In other words, not all, but most first-time buyers will be able to claim some stamp duty relief.  

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Property Industry Eye