Will the Stamp Duty holiday make Help to Buy even more attractive?

on 14 July 2020

The government has put in place a number of measures to kickstart the UK economy and help the

country shake off the effects of COVID-19. On 8th July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that a

holiday on Stamp Duty would become part of the package.

Stamp Duty put simply is like VAT on houses; it’s a tax that homebuyers have to pay to the

government after the completion of a purchase. Normally Stamp Duty is payable on all but the

lowest-priced houses, with higher rates for more expensive properties and breaks for first-time


But, between 8th July until 31st March 2021, buyers in England and Northern Ireland will be entitled to a Stamp Duty “holiday”, meaning they will not have to pay Stamp Duty on any house purchase during this period – as long as their new homes are valued at £500,000 or less. And, because of the way Stamp Duty is calculated, the measure will also provide some help to buyers of properties valued at more than £500,000.

The changes took affect immediately following the chancellors announcement, and will apply to

anyone who completes between now and 31 March 2021.

How will the Stamp Duty holiday affect shared ownership?

Previously, many shared ownership purchasers have chosen to defer part of their Stamp Duty

payment. They’ve made short-term savings by only paying Stamp Duty on the part of the house which

they purchase, committing themselves to further payments later if they decide to ‘staircase’.

Staircasing is when a shared ownership buyer decides to purchase further shares in their property,

enabling them to own a greater proportion of their home.

If you’re about to buy a house under a Help to Buy scheme, the potential benefits of the Stamp Duty

holiday are obvious. Provided your new home is valued at £500,000 or less, you shouldn’t have to

worry about paying Stamp Duty now or in future. If you’re part-way through a Help to Buy process, we

advise that you check in with your solicitor for the latest update.

If you’re already in a Help to Buy scheme, the picture is less clear. At the time of writing, the

government hasn’t issued any advice about how the Stamp Duty holiday will affect ongoing staircase

payments. Check with your solicitor for advice as to how to proceed pending further clarification.

At St. Arthur Homes, the ease of your buying process is of the utmost importance to us and we will

always strive to keep you updated on the latest information and guidance as and when it is


For more information about the Stamp Duty holiday and shared ownership, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.