Stamp duty scrapped for first time buyers on property up to £300,000 in NI

Stamp duty in Northern Ireland will be scrapped immediately for the majority of first-time buyers.

First-time buyers purchasing property costing up to £500,000 will not have to pay stamp duty on the first £300,000. First-time buyer properties costing above £500,000 will continue to pay the 5 per cent stamp duty rate. Stamp duty is the tax paid on property transactions (for land and/or a house). Chancellor Philip Hammond said the move would reduce the levy for 95 per cent of first-time buyers and abolish it for 80 per cent of them. The change will apply in Northern Ireland up until the end of March. “This is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again,” Mr Hammond said. However according to NI Direct, first time buyers in NI never paid stamp duty on homes costing up to £125,000. The move therefore only benefits those buying a house for the first time priced between £125,001 and £500,000: Table source: BBC Below is the breakdown of stamp duty rates prior to the change:  Table source: via

Planning changes announced in the Budget

The Budget has also introduced the following changes to the planning system:
  • All new homes will have to be built with the right cables for electric car charge points.
  • To encourage owners of empty homes to bring their properties back into use, local authorities will be able to increase the council tax premium from 50 per cent to 100 per cent.
  • There will be no need to secure planning permission (under a permitted development right) to demolish commercial buildings and replace them with homes.
  • Policy changes will also be introduced to support the conversion of empty space above high street shops and to make it easier to convert retail and employment land into housing.
UPDATE MARCH 2021: Stamp duty holiday (no tax liability) on house purchases worth up to £500,000 is extended until June 2021, for both NI and England, as announced in the UK March Budget.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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