Date Published 25 March 2010

As I am sure you are all aware, there are two changes to stamp duty in the Yesterdays budget.

Purchases of properties at over £1 million have been announced to have a 5% stamp duty rate. Please note that this does not come into force until April 2011.

More importantly, a two year stamp duty holiday commencing with properties completing from today BUT this benefit is only available to `first time buyers`. This, of course, begs the question – what is a first time buyer? This has been defined as a person who has not previously acquired a major interest in residential property. Also excluded are companies, trustees and partnerships.

This effectively means that you cannot use your children to buy the property and get the benefit and set up a trust so that you have a benefit in the property. Accordingly, a first time buyer does not mean someone who does not have a property to sell at that time but it must mean someone who has never owned a property or a share in a property before.

Although we are waiting clarification, we assume from this that if a couple are buying a property and one of them has owned a property previously and one hasn't, then the relief is not available. As yet there is no guidance as to what paperwork requirements the Revenue need before granting this exemption. We are making urgent enquiries with the Revenue about this and we will advise you further.

Overall this is good news for the Current Housing market and hopefully it will give the market a much needed Kick Start.

We will put any further news on our website.