What is stamp duty?

Most buyers have to pay stamp duty. Aside from your mortgage, stamp duty could be the biggest cost of buying a home.

A stamp duty calculator can help you estimate how much you’ll need to pay. It will take into account the price of your home and the stamp duty rate band it falls into.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax in England and Northern Ireland. It usually applies to residential properties, or pieces of land, that cost more than £125,000.

First time buyers and those buying more than one property, may not have to pay stamp duty. (1)

Scotland and Wales have their own taxes that are equal to stamp duty.

You'll pay:

  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland

  • Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales

Stamp duty holiday: No stamp duty on homes up to £500,000

If you buy a home for up to £500,000 you will not pay any stamp duty. You will still pay stamp duty on any purchases above £500,000.

This "stamp duty holiday" will last until 31 March 2021. It's part of government plans to help the economy recover from coronavirus.

The stamp duty cut only applies if you're buying a house in England or Northern Ireland. In Scotland and Wales the stamp duty rates are still the same.

If you buy a £500,000 home between now and 31 March 2021, you would save £15,000 in stamp duty.

You could spend this money on increasing the size of your deposit or on home improvements. Putting down a bigger deposit could be a good idea as it could help you get a better mortgage deal.

If you buy a home for more than £500,000, you will pay 5% on the next £425,000 of the purchase price from £500,001 to £925,000.

The rates are still 10% and 12% for the last two bands (£925,001 to £1.5 million and above £1.5 million).

If you're buying a second home you will pay 3% on the first £500,000 of the purchase price, then 8% from £500,001 to £925,000. The usual rates of 13% and 15% apply for the last two bands.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Stamp duty holiday deadline

You’ll need to complete your purchase by 31 March 2021 to qualify for the stamp duty holiday. 

Completion is when the money has been transferred, you get your keys and can move into your new home. 

If you complete after this date, you may have to pay an extra £15,000 in stamp duty depending on the price of your property.  

You can apply for the government’s temporary stamp duty holiday if you bought a home in England or Northern Ireland before 1 April 2021.

Scotland and Wales have their own stamp duty holidays. You can read more about them below.

Any fees and charges you’ve paid cannot be refunded. 

So you cannot get this back if you’re later not able to pay stamp duty fees or put down a deposit on the home. 

Make sure you can afford all the costs of the mortgage, even if you think you’re eligible for the stamp duty holiday.

You can contact us or your solicitor if you need more help.

You will not be able to get the stamp duty holiday if you’ve not completed.

Even if you’ve exchanged before the deadline. 

According to our own data, it currently takes about 24 days for a mortgage to be approved after it’s submitted to the lender. This time last year it only took around 11 days. 

The longer time is due to:

  • a backlog of in person valuations

  • demand for underwriting

We’re working with lenders to make sure our customers’ cases are being reviewed in the current timescale.

Impact on buy to lets

If you’re a buy to let customer, you can get the stamp duty holiday. 

But there is a 3% surcharge if the purchase is over a set amount.

Impact on Scotland and Wales

The Scottish and Welsh governments have said you will not have to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax for properties up to £250,000. This is up from the standard £145,000 in Scotland and £180,000 in Wales.

This will be in place until 31 March 2021.

First time buyers

From 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you will not have to pay stamp duty on properties under £500,000.

Buying a home before the stamp duty holiday deadline

Based on Trussle's own data, it currently takes around 115 days to get a mortgage and complete on a property in the UK.

115 days before 31 March 2021 is 6 December 2020.

115 days is the median, which means some property purchases take less than 115 days and some take more than 115 days.

The average completion time is different around the country and it depends on the type of property you are buying.

If you would like to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday you should start your mortgage application as soon as possible to improve your chances of completing in time.

Beating the stamp duty holiday deadline for different property types

According to Trussle data, the time it takes to get a mortgage and complete on a home is different depending on the type of property.

In England, the median time to apply for a mortgage and complete on a semi-detached house is 108 days.

108 days before the 31 March 2021 stamp duty holiday deadline is 13 December 2020.

For detached and terraced homes the median is 118 days, and for flats it is 120 days.

118 days before the 31 March 2021 stamp duty holiday deadline is 3 December 2020.

120 days before the 31 March 2021 stamp duty holiday deadline is 1 December 2020.

Completion times are different around the country. Right now they are faster in Scotland and the South East and slower in the East Midlands and East of England.

Start anywhere anytime

How and when do I pay stamp duty?

Until 31 March 2021 you do not have to pay stamp duty if you buy a home, property or land up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland.

Otherwise you have to pay your stamp duty within 14 days of your move in date. If it’s not paid by then, you could risk a fine, or having interest added to the amount due.

Often your solicitor deals with your stamp duty payment. It can help to know what stamp duty is, how it’s calculated, and when it’s due.

You pay stamp duty as a lump-sum on new properties, second homes, freehold and leasehold properties. It does not matter if you buy the home with a mortgage or with cash.

When do you not need to pay stamp duty?

You do not need to pay stamp duty land tax if you're:

  • buying a property valued below the stamp duty threshold

  • transferring the deeds of your home to someone

  • a first time buyer in England or Northern Ireland if you're buying a property that costs less than £300,000

How much is stamp duty in 2020?

The standard rate bands for stamp duty are as follows*:

0% stamp duty on first £0 - £125,000 of property value

2% stamp duty on next £125,001 - £250,000 of property value

5% stamp duty on next £250,001 - £925,000 of property value

10% stamp duty on next £925,001 - £1.5 million of property value

12% stamp duty above £1.5 million of property value

*Figures accurate as of April 2020 for the April 2020 to April 2021 tax year

The stamp duty rate you’ll pay is not confined to just one of these bands. Each band applies to the equivalent portion of the property price. For example, if you buy a house for £300,000, the stamp duty you’ll pay will be:

  • The first £125,000 x 0% = £0

  • The next £125,000 x 2% = £2,500

  • The final £50,000 x 5% = £2,500

Total stamp duty = £5,000

It’s a bit complicated, especially on more expensive properties, so a stamp duty calculator can be useful.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you could get stamp duty relief on properties up to the value of £500,000.

If you buy a home up to the value of £300,000, you won’t have to pay any stamp duty at all.

If your property costs between £300,000 and £500,000, you won’t have to pay anything on the first £300,000. But you’ll have to pay a rate of 5% for the remaining part.

For example, on a property that costs £450,000, your stamp duty would be:

  • The first £300,000 x 0% = 0%

  • The remaining £150,000 x 5% = £7,500

Total stamp duty = £7,500

To be eligible for this discount:

  • all be first time buyers if involved in buying the property

  • your property cannot have a value of over £500,000

If you’re a first-time buyer and the property you’re buying is over £500,000, you’ll need to follow the standard rate bands.

In Scotland, to buy a single property you do not have to pay any tax on the first £145,000.

The following rates apply over the first £145,000:

  • 2% on the value of the property between £145,000 and £250,000

  • 5% on the part between £250,000 and £325,000

  • 10% on the part from £325,000 to £750,000

  • 12% on any value over £750,000

First time buyers in Scotland do not pay stamp duty on the first £175,000. 

LTT is usually exempt on the first £180,000 of the property.

The following rates apply over £180,000:

  • 3.5% between £180,000 and £250,000

  • 5% on the part between £250,000 and £400,000

  • 7.5% on the part between £400,000 and £750,000

  • 10% within the next band up to £1.5 million

  • 12% over £1.5 million

There’s not currently any relief for first-time buyers in Wales. The higher tax-free threshold of £180,000 should make most first time buys tax-free. (3)

Using a stamp duty calculator

You can calculate stamp duty by:

  • stating if you're buying for the first time, your next home, or another property 

  • giving the value of the property you’re buying, and if it’s residential or commercial.

Some calculators may ask you for the date you plan to complete the sale.

The stamp duty calculator should then calculate the total Stamp Duty Land Tax you’ll need to pay. As well as a breakdown of how it calculated that figure.

There are a range of stamp duty tax calculators, including HMRC’s stamp duty calculator.

Your mortgage adviser can give you general information on the rates you need to pay. Mortgage advisers are not qualified to give tax advice.

If you need advice on tax, then speak to an independent tax and legal specialist.

Complete your purchase

Buy-to-let stamp duty and stamp duty on a second property

Calculating stamp duty on second homes is different.

For second homes, you'll have to pay an extra 3% on the standard stamp duty rates. This is for properties over £40,000 but does not include mobile homes, houseboats, and caravans.

If you’re buying a new home and selling your old one, you’ll only need to pay the standard stamp duty rates.

If you do not sell your main property when you complete your new home, you'll have to pay the higher rates. This is because you'll own two properties.

You can get a refund once you’ve sold your original home as long as it’s within 36 months of when you first bought it.

Buying a leasehold property

Stamp duty applies on both leasehold and freehold properties. It is dealt with exactly the same way on either property.

Buying a commercial property

Calculating stamp duty on land and non-residential property is also different. This includes mixed-use land and property.

You’ll pay land tax on transactions over £150,000.

This is currently 2% of the property value from £150,000 to £250,000 and 5% on the value above £250,000.

Joint ownership and stamp duty relief

If you’re a first-time buyer of a shared ownership home, you do not have to pay stamp duty on the first £300,000 of a home worth up to £500,000.

This means all first-time buyers with a first home worth up to £300,000 is now exempt from stamp duty. (4)

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