This month has seen a big change for homebuyers, with a stamp duty holiday potentially saving property shoppers thousands of pounds.
Across England and Northern Ireland, the tax threshold has been raised to £500,000, meaning there will be no stamp duty to pay for any property which sells for less. This change will last until the end of March next year, as a measure from the Government to try and give the housing market a boost in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Previously, stamp duty was charged on the sale of any land or property over £125,000, while for first-time buyers, that rose to £300,000. Now, properties under £500,000 will be exempt, while properties over that will be taxed in line with their total value above that.
The move is designed to help out home buyers in the coming months and stimulate the housing market, which has suffered in the wake of lockdown with house prices dropping since the start of the year.
What can I save?
According to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this measure will save the average home buyer £4,500, while some buyers will save up to £15,000. He predicts around 90% of buyers won’t have to pay any stamp duty while the holiday is in place.
In Scotland, the equivalent Land and Buildings Transaction Tax will see its threshold raised from £145,000 to £250,000 for the same period. In Wales, the Land Transaction Tax threshold will rise from £180,000 to £250,000, meaning everyone in the UK can benefit.
What can I do with the money?
If you’ve ever bought a home before you’ll know how tiring, frustrating and expensive the process can be, with fees, taxes and costs incurred at every point along the way. Now with stamp duty holiday, you could see yourself saving a tidy chunk - which is perfect for reinvesting in your brand new home.
There are lots of common jobs that people typically carry out when they move into a new home, and the money saved on stamp duty could be just right for getting them done by an experienced professional.
After living in rented places with bland walls and carpets, many new homeowners like to show off their individuality when they finally get their own place, and the easiest way to do that is with some interior design. Whether it’s a simple lick of paint, a stylish wallpaper print for a feature wall, or new plush carpets, there’s plenty that can show off your sense of style.
While lots of people will be keen to do it themselves, especially after the costs of home buying, the average stamp duty saving of £4,500 should be enough for a pretty comprehensive professional job, transforming many of your rooms with professional decoration to a high standard.
One of the most popular jobs for new homeowners to do is renovate the bathroom - as one of our most personal spaces, making it feel like your own is invaluable. Whether you want a shower or a bath, heated towel rail of bidet, your bathroom can be whatever you want it to be, and you’ll have the knowledge that no one else has ever used it.
The cost of refurbishing a bathroom can range widely depending on the size and complexity of the job (for example, if you’re moving fixtures around to change the layout) and the quality of the new suite and accessories you choose. However, for a medium sized bathroom, £4,500 should be enough for a quality job, fitted by an expert.
Another popular job for making a home feel like your own is installing a new kitchen. Often thought of as the heart of the home, we all need our kitchens to do different things, whether it’s a space for kids to do their homework, or a place for a dedicated chef to show off their skills.
With kitchen refurbs generally starting at around £5,000, the stamp duty savings could get you a long way into improving any kitchen, no matter how run-down. Even if you don’t go the whole hog and change the entire thing, there would be plenty of budget to make key changes such as replacing cabinet doors, retiling, or changing the worktops for a nicer and more up to date version. A kitchen fitter can advise you on what fits your budget.
If your shiny new home has any outdoor space, then the chances are you’ll want to get the most out of it. The options for updating a garden are limitless, and even if the last owner let it grow wild, you can soon tame the wilderness and create your little plot of heaven.
Many people enjoy gardening, but there’s no shame in letting an expert get things under control and set up the kind of space you want to enjoy. Whether you want a perfectly manicured lawn or even an artificial one to ease the maintenance, flower beds, specialist planters, ponds, seating areas or anything else, a landscaper can make it a reality. Prices vary depending on the project, but stamp duty savings will make a significant dent in nearly every outdoor job you want to take on.
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