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The House Price Index is the largest, most up-to-date monthly sample of residential property asking prices. The index monitors changes in house prices both annually and monthly, providing a comprehensive view on the current state of the property market in England and Wales.

 

View Rightmove's January House Price Index here...

The number of first-time buyers in 2014 rose to its highest level in seven years, according to one of the UK's largest lenders.

The Halifax estimates that 326,500 people bought their first house or flat last year - a rise of 22% compared to 2013.

That was the highest total since 2007, at the start of the financial crisis.

The main reason was cheap mortgage rates, and government schemes like Help to Buy, which require small deposits.

Better job prospects may also have helped.

"Improving economic conditions and rising employment levels have boosted confidence among those thinking about getting on to the housing ladder for the first time," said Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at the Halifax.

 

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So, what are the new rates and what WERE they!?

 

OLD RATES: Up to £125,000 – 0% £125,001 to £250,000 – 1% (of the whole value) £250,001-£500,000 – 3% £500,001-£1 million – 4% £1 million-£2 million – 5% £2 million+ – 7%.

 

NEW RATES: The first £125,000 is free of charge regardless of how much you pay for the property. Anything you pay over and above £125,000 is then charged at the new rate of 2%.

 

Therefore, stamp duty on a £150,000 property is only charged on £25,000 at 2%. The amount charged will be £500.

Under the old system this would have been 1% of £150,000, which is £1,500.

 

Therefore, those buying between £250k and £300k will especially save money. On average, savings range from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
 
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