Ahead of next week’s budget, the Building Societies Association (BSA) has urged the government to continue with the exemption of stamp duties for first time buyers with properties valued under £250,000.
Arguing in favour of the move, BSA Director General Adrian Coles said that making the exemption permanent will help more first time buyers get on the housing ladder and will remove one of the key impediments for these borrowers.
“Obtaining a mortgage remains very challenging for first-time buyers, who must raise a large deposit. Transaction costs act as a further barrier to house purchase, so we call on the Government to make permanent the exemption from stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties under £250,000”, said Mr. Coles.
Further arguing in favour of stamp duty rationalization including withdrawal of ‘duty slabs’, he said: “It is time stamp duty for all buyers was reviewed”.
It also emphasized the necessity of remutualising tax-payer owned lender Northern Rock.
“Keeping a reformed Northern Rock independent of the big banks would be good for competition, and we would urge the Government to seriously consider the benefits of remutualisation”, Mr. Coles said.
“A re-launched and remutualised Northern Rock can repay the taxpayer stake over time. A deferred payment profile can give the optimum outcome, both returning the full value to the taxpayer and achieving other public policy goals, such as increased stability and competition”, he added.