Stamp duty extension as Sunak brings in 95 per cent mortgages

Gary McDonald Business Editor

THERE was a significant boost for the property market in the Budget with the extension of the stamp duty holiday to October and the government guarantee on 95 per cent mortgages.

The moves are being seen as a mixed blessing for first time buyers in Northern Ireland, who has seen prices rising and were perhaps wanting the market to cool.

Economist Richard Ramsey lauded the announcement as "another adrenalin shot for the market that will keep upward pressure on prices into next year".

The guarantee scheme will allow first-time buyers to obtain a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit on a property worth up to £600,000.

And the current stamp duty holiday, where no tax is paid on properties up to £500,000 and which was due to end on March 31, has been extended until June 30.

The nil rate band will be reset at £250,000 until the end of September before returning to £125,000 from October 1.

"This is heartening, and the housing market in Northern Ireland will certainly benefit from this policy move," according to Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland.

Although 90 per cent mortgages slowly return to the market since January after nearly disappearing altogether when the pandemic first struck, raising a 10 per cent deposit has presented a real challenge for many.

Sunak believes the lower rate is more achievable and could be a lifeline for first time buyers or those wanting to upsize, although it will be interesting to see the eligibility criteria and how this differs per lender.

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