In the recent Autumn Statement, the Government announced plans to support low-cost home ownership for first-time buyers. These plans included charging higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax on purchases of additional residential properties, such as buy-to-let properties and second homes. These plans are to come into force from 1 April 2016.

Whilst the final guidance on the new Stamp Duty Land Tax is to be issued on the 16 March 2016, these widely anticipated higher rates will apply to most purchases of additional residential properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where at the point of completion the purchaser owns another property, or on transaction where a first time buyer is purchasing a property as an investment.

Band                                                      Existing SDLT rates                          New SDLT rates


£0 – £125,000                                       0%                                                          3%

£125,001 – £250,000                           2%                                                          5%

£250,001 – £925,000                           5%                                                          8%

£925,000 – £1,500,000                      10%                                                         13%

£1,500,000 +                                        12%                                                        15%

The results of the guidance will confirm the property but it is expected the higher rates will only apply to purchases of additional residential property which are completed on or after 1 April 2016. These new rates will also apply if you exchanged contracts after 25 November 2015 and are not completing until after 1 April 2016.

This is most likely to affect those purchasing new build properties. However if contracts were exchanged on or before 25 November 2015 and completion is not scheduled to take place until after 1 April 2016, it is expected that the higher rates will not apply.

If you would like more information on the planned changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax, please contact our Conveyancing team in our Lower Earley or Henley-on-Thames offices.