Will there be stamp duty and house buying changes in the budget?

Q I am buying my first house. I recently had an offer accepted but realise this is not going to go through before the end of March to avoid paying stamp duty, so I have built a contingency for a 1% stamp duty. However, while discussing mortgage applications with our broker, my partner and I have been told to prepare for stamp duty of 2–3%.

The bid that has been accepted is £238,000, we have prepared to pay a 1% stamp duty, the prospect of paying £4,760-£7,140 stamp duty is frightening and will most likely cause us to not go through with the purchase.

Can you advise on likely changes in the budget relating to stamp duty changes and expected costs of buying a house? AS

A Unfortunately, I can’t predict what is going to happen in this year’s budget, on 21 March, which is three days before the stamp duty land tax holiday for first-time buyers is due to end (on 24 March 2012). However, it’s hard to believe that stamp duty land tax (SDLT) for properties costing less than £250,000 (but more than £125,000) will jump from the current rate of 1% to the 3% currently charged on properties costing over £250,000 but less than £500,000.

If anything were to increase it should be the SDLT threshold, which has remained at £125,000 since March 2006.

Virginia Wallis

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