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Alliance & Leicester calls for stamp duty to be scrapped for first-timers

15 March 2005
Alliance & Leicester Mortgages is calling for first-time buyers to be exempt from paying stamp duty in the wake of research finding that they have just an eight per cent chance of avoiding it.

The building society's research shows that just 99,234 properties in England and Wales sold for less than the £60,000 stamp duty threshold last year, leaving house purchasers a meagre one in 13, or eight per cent, chance of escaping the tax.

The chance looks even slighter for first-time buyers in the Alliance & Leicester's depiction, which suggests that only six per cent of typical first-time buyer properties - such as flats and maisonettes - came below the stamp duty barrier.

These current figures compare with almost three quarters of first-time buyer properties selling under the stamp duty threshold in 1995, and a 60-40 chance for homebuyers of avoiding the duty.

"Stamp duty was never intended to be a prohibitive tax and with first time buyer activity at a 20 year low, this group of people could do with a helping hand," said Stephen Leonard, director of mortgages, savings & investment products at Alliance & Leicester.

"That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to scrap the tax for first time buyers completely."

London is particularly hard-hit according to the research, with only 144 properties sold for less than £60,000 last year, compared with 41,242 in 1995.

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