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First-time buyers want fee help not headline-grabbing rates

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14/08/2014
First-time buyers are choosing products which help them to pay for the costly process of purchasing their home instead of being dazzled by low interest rates, research has shown.

The survey, carried out by NatWest Intermediary Solutions and SimplyBiz Mortgages, showed an equal split in opinion over the most appealing incentive.

Of those surveyed 40% of first-time buyers voted for Stamp Duty assistance and 40% opted for free legal and valuation fees. 

Just 8% said a cashback offer was what drew them to a product, while only 2% said it was the lowest rate of interest on the market.

As house prices continue to rise, the cost of Stamp Duty hs become an issue for increasing numbers of first-time buyers looking for a way onto the property ladder, particularly in the South East and Greater London.

Stamp Duty becomes payable when the purchase price of the property exceeds £125,000, when a charge of 1% is levied on the buyer. This rises to 3% when the value of the property reaches £250,001.

The average house price in the South East is £263,333 and jumps to £330,315 for those looking to buy in Greater London according to the latest statistics from the Halifax House Price index.

Even though first-time buyers will typically snap up the smaller, cheaper properties in an area, a bill in the region of £3,000 is almost unavoidable in the capital and surrounding areas.

With average property prices in the North of England, Wales, Scotland and the West Midlands ranging from £125,000 to £150,000, first-time buyers with their eye on a bargain may manage to side step any Stamp Duty fee at all.

Lenders are wising up to the strain Stamp Duty fees are placing on first-time buyers by headlining the tax-assistance feature in their product ranges.

Virgin Money launched its Stamp Duty Buster product which offers up to £3,000 for customers using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and is designed to be used for legal and valuation fees as well as Stamp Duty.

Halifax is offering to pay Stamp Duty for all first-time buyers who are purchasing properties up to £250,000.

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