A chance for young Lon­don­ers

Use the Bud­get stamp duty tax break to get on the lad­der at last, says

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - First-time Buyers -

FIRST-TIME buy­ers were hit­ting their search but­tons the mo­ment the Bud­get an­nounce­ment on stamp duty sav­ings came through. Es­tate agents and de­vel­op­ers across the cap­i­tal have re­ported a surge in ac­tiv­ity as Lon­don­ers, forced to pay more for homes than the rest of the coun­try, reckon they stand to ben­e­fit most.

One way of mak­ing the most of this tax break on prop­erty val­ued above the new £300,000 thresh­old is to buy into a shared-own­er­ship home. You pay duty only on the share you buy, not the full value of the prop­erty. So if you buy 50 per cent, pay­ing say, £285,000 for a home priced at £570,000, no stamp duty will be due.

Only when you “stair­case”, buy­ing more shares that take you above 80 per cent of the prop­erty’s value, must you pay ex­tra stamp duty, and even then only on the trans­ac­tion amount that takes you over the 80 per cent thresh­old. This ap­plies to any sub­se­quent shares you buy. Shared own­er­ship also re­quires a much lower de­posit than the £100,000 typ­i­cally de­manded from London first-time buy­ers, which is of­ten only scraped to­gether with the help of par­ents — so the Bud­get will have drawn sighs of re­lief all round.

GET­TING ON TO THE SHARED- OWN­ER­SHIP LAD­DER

Good-qual­ity shared-own­er­ship homes are avail­able at fash­ion­able river­side schemes and glam new sky­scrapers in posh post­codes, not just in up-and-com­ing, grit­tier parts of in­ner London and sub­ur­ban high streets.

Reg­is­ter at share­to­buy.com/first­steps so you can search not just by area, but by the de­posit and bud­get you can af­ford. Thou­sands of homes are listed on the web­site and new schemes are added reg­u­larly. Some homes are avail­able off-plan, usu­ally sev­eral months be­fore they are com­pleted, let­ting buy­ers or­gan­ise their move.

STAMP OF AP­PROVAL FROM LON­DON­ERS

Be­fore the Bud­get, stamp duty kicked in at two per cent for homes worth £125,000-plus, and five per cent for the £250,000£500,000 band. The av­er­age London first-time buyer spends £409,795, ac­cord­ing to Hal­i­fax bank, mean­ing the first-time buyer ex­emp­tion from stamp duty means a po­ten­tial sav­ing of £5,000.

Only about a third of prop­er­ties on the mar­ket in London are be­low the £500,000 level, whereas in the rest of the coun­try the pro­por­tion is roughly two thirds.

Be­cause Lon­don­ers pay higher prices for

buy­ing “off-plan” gives time to ar­range your move their homes, some de­vel­op­ers and hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions of­fer to pay the stamp duty as an in­cen­tive to buy. Clar­ion Hous­ing Group is of­fer­ing to pay all the stamp duty at its Ban­bury Park scheme in Waltham­stow where twobed­room flats cost from £400,000. Call 020 8523 3294. The Gov­ern­ment’s low-de­posit Help to Buy scheme is also avail­able there.

“It’s an early Christ­mas present for buy­ers,” says mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Tim Se­ward. “First-time buy­ers won’t have to pay a penny in stamp duty.”

FROM UP-AND- COM­ING DOCK­LANDS TO HIP SHOREDITCH

Stamp duty-free homes have been launched by Not­ting Hill Hous­ing at sev­eral share­down­er­ship de­vel­op­ments in Dock­lands. At Traders’ Quar­ter, Royal Docks, prices start at £96,250 for a 25 per cent share of a onebed­room apart­ment priced at £385,000. At Rathbone Mar­ket, Can­ning Town, prices start at £85,000 for a 25 per cent share of a £340,000 flat. At Royal Al­bert Dock, prices start at £107,500 for a 25 per cent share of a flat with a full price of £430,000. Homes at Alder Grove and Park­side Place in Wem­b­ley have also been un­veiled. Prices start from £134,000 for a 40 per cent share (full price £335,000). For all of the above, call 020 3797 8481 for de­tails. In ad­di­tion to stamp duty sav­ings, shared own­er­ship al­lows buy­ers to live in a pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion that would oth­er­wise be be­yond their bud­get. At God­frey Place in Shoreditch, Ge­n­e­sis is sell­ing flats from £162,500 for a 25 per cent share of a home with a full price of £650,000. Call 020 3813 5239. And at Ju­bilee Place, Queen’s Park, prices start at £152,500 for a 25 per cent share. Call 020 3432 0746.

From £162,500: for 25 per cent of a two-bed­room £650,000 flat at God­frey Place in the heart of trendy Shoreditch. Call Ge­n­e­sis on 020 3813 5239 From £96,250: for 25 per cent of a one-bed­room £385,000 flat at Traders’ Quar­ter in Royal Docks, E16. Call Not­ting Hill Hous­ing on 020 3797 8481

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