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First Time Buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ

On 22nd November 2017 the rules regarding Stamp Duty for First Time Buyers changed. We're answering some of the questions arising from the Stamp Duty exemption for First Time Buyers.

First Time Buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ

In normal circumstances First Time Buyers are exempt from paying Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, but up until 31st March 2021 this threshold has been raised to £500,000 for all purchases of main residential properties.

However, there are still some specific details regarding eligibility. Here are some of the questions people are asking.

I’m a First Time Buyer - we’ve exchanged but not completed so do I still need to pay?
This comes into play when you have completed the sale, so if you exchanged before 22nd November but have not yet completed, you will qualify for the Stamp Duty exemption.

I’m a First Time Buyer, but my partner owns a Buy To Let property - are we eligible?
No, unless you are solely buying the property in your name. Both partners buying the property need to be First Time Buyers.

I sold a property 5 years ago and don’t own anything. Does that make me a First Time Buyer?
No, if you have owned a property before, even if you don’t now, you are not a First Time Buyer.

I inherited a place in France but have no property in England - do I qualify?
Inheriting property, even abroad, means you are not eligible. Also if you bought property abroad you cannot qualify either.

I’m a First Time Buyer selling in Scotland and buying in England - do I qualify? What if I sell in England and buy in Scotland?
If you are selling in Scotland and buying in England, then you have previously owned property and cannot be eligible. If you are selling in England and buying in Scotland, you will not qualify for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) exemption available in Scotland.

I own commercial premises, but not a home. Am I a First Time Buyer?
If you own commercial property but not a dwelling, you are a First Time Buyer and are eligible.

I want to buy with my partner, but I live elsewhere – are we eligible?
If you are aiming to live with your partner when you buy the property, you qualify. If both your names will be on the deeds, but you will not be living in the property, you cannot qualify.

I live in Wales – can I apply?
Afraid not - from 1st April 2018 Wales are changing the SDLT to the Land Transaction Tax, which has different rates to Stamp Duty. There is no exemption for First Time Buyers in the Welsh system, however the threshold starts at £250,000 (up until 31st March 2020) so if you buy a property below that price you will not pay Land Transaction Tax anyway.

I live in Scotland - is there an exemption?
Scotland uses Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and there is an exemption available from June 2018 - if you're buying a property under the value of £175,000 you won't pay LBTT. However this exemption is currently masked by a temporary change to main LBTT rates. As part of the Scottish Government's attempt to aid the recover of the housing market following the coronavirus pandemic, the lower threshold for LBTT is currently £250,000.

Add any questions you have about the first time buyer Stamp Duty changes, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Updated September 2021

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