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Chancellor helps first-time buyers with change to stamp duty

The Chancellor Alistair Darling has doubled the stamp duty threshold for people buying their first home in an attempt to boost the housing market.

The new level at which stamp duty becomes payable for first-time buyers rises from £125,000 to £250,000. The Government estimates that nine out of ten first-time buyers will benefit from the increase as they will pay no stamp duty at all on houses under £250,000.

The new limit was announced by Mr Darling during his budget statement and will remain in place until March 2012. It will be partly financed by increasing stamp duty to 5% for residential property costing more than £1m. That will come into effect from April next year.

The increased threshold for first-time buyers relates to completion dates so people already in the process of buying their first home will benefit as long as they complete before 25th March 2012.

Only people buying their main home will be able to take advantage of the new limit. It does not relate to holiday homes or buy to let properties.

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