In essence, to qualify a buyer must:
- be an individual or group of individuals;
- complete their purchase before 25th March 2012;
- pay no more than £250,000 for the property;
- purchase a “major interest” (which means either freehold property or a leasehold property that has an unexpired leasehold interest of at least 21 years);
- purchase a property that is wholly residential;
- intend to occupy the property as their only or main residence; and
- never previously have acquired a major interest (as described above) in residential property anywhere in the world.
To claim the relief a buyer must be able to satisfy all the listed requirements.
So, who can’t take advantage of the new relief? Certainly, those falling into the following categories will not qualify:
a buyer who has previously owned their home;
- couples where one of the buyers has previously owned their home;
- investment buyers;
- trustees (although there may be some limited exceptions);
- commercial partnerships;
- buyers of holiday homes;
- buyers who have previously owned an inherited property; and
- buyers who are buying on behalf of their children or parents.
So, if you’re not a genuine first-time buyer, you have no reason to get excited about this new relief. It won’t apply to you and you will still have to pay 1% Stamp Duty on the completion of your purchase if the purchase price is more than £125,000 (£150,000 in a “disadvantaged area”) and does not exceed £250,000.