Mortgage borrowers cash in on stamp duty

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The Independent Online

First-time buyers racing to take advantage of a valuable stamp duty concession boosted the numbers of loans made to people purchasing homes in December, figures revealed yesterday.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said there were almost 63,000 such loans last month – 23 per cent more than in November and 90 per cent up on December 2008. About 55 per cent of the mortgages related to purchases of properties worth less than £175,000. A temporary concession making purchases up to this value stamp duty free ended on 1 January, when the threshold fell back to £125,000.