First Time Buyers: Stamp Duty Changes From The Autumn Budget

The UK property market has, traditionally, priced out millions of first time buyers looking for a home or rental investment. Yet the Autumn Budget in November 2017 revealed changes that level the playing field quite drastically for those struggling to secure finance.

The stamp duty threshold has been raised, meaning first time buyers investing in UK property are no longer liable to pay tax on the initial £300,000. This has promising implications for those looking to get on the property ladder. Here, Liquid Expat Mortgages take a closer look at the new rules, and what they represent…


Opening up buyer incentives

Under the old regime, stamp duty applied to any homes bought for more than £125,000. Purchases carried an ascending scale of tax percentages, depending on how much the property is worth. The standard rates are outlined here – but it’s important to note that no relief was given for first time buyers until November 2017.

That reality, however, was torn up under the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget. With immediate effect, first time buyers could get an exemption from stamp duty on the initial £300,000 of a property valued up to £500,000. In essence, anyone in this bracket can save a maximum of £5,000 when committing to a purchase.

It also applies to a space intended for renting, providing that it is the very first property investment you’re making.


The impact on expat first time buyers

The new stamp duty rules apply to those buying from overseas, as well as UK residents. Expat or foreign national investors can save funds and make an easier entrance into the British property market.

There are stipulations to consider, though, which clarify the status of expat first time buyers. They are the following:


  • Anyone renting a property abroad, who has yet to purchase their first home in the UK, can benefit from the zero-rate stamp duty if they choose to buy for themselves.
  • The same is also true of someone who may personally rent abroad and purchase a British home to let out. It doesn’t matter whether the property will be occupied by you or you choose to rent it out
  • However, the main difference lies with first time UK buyers who already have a home in another country. For example, an expat residing in Hong Kong with their own house, in their name, cannot benefit from stamp duty relief if they choose to buy in the UK, whether that’s for personal habitation or a buy to let investment.


Expats with an existing portfolio, then, will not be able to take advantage of the higher stamp duty threshold. But we should point out that any stamp duty paid is classed as a ‘buying cost’ under Self Assessment. This can be offset against CGT (Capital Gains Tax) to reduce the overall tax amount you’re liable for.

If you are a first time buyer, there are plenty of expat mortgage options available for a buy-to-let purchase that would not exist if you lived in the UK. And, with the changes to stamp duty taking up to £5000 off the cost of your investment, you’ll now have more room to manoeuvre when it comes to weighing up finance options.

Liquid Expat Mortgages are still on-hand to connect expats and overseas investors to trusted lenders; we can even show you which new developments are worth considering in up-and-coming cities, such as Manchester [LINK TO MANCHESTER STAMP DUTY BLOG].


Call +44(0)161 871 1216 to discuss the best way forward, or email with your enquiry.