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Stamp duty relief delay ‘issue’ for buyers

Requiring first-time homebuyers to live in their property for three years before receiving stamp duty relief has seen sales under a government programme “grind to a halt”, a leading real estate industry figure said.

Sharon Cranfield, chairwoman of the real estate division of the Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative that gives first-time homebuyers tax relief on homes purchased for $750,000 or less was “until 2019 successful in stimulating first-time buyer sales for both old and young Bermudians”.

But she added: “In the last year we have seen it grind to a halt because the three years the first-time homebuyer must live in the unit is now required to be fulfilled before the relief is awarded.

“Our first-time homebuyers need the relief upfront, not three years down the line. This is now a major issue to those purchasers.”

Ms Cranfield said the chamber would like to hear more about the Government's “15-month exclusive arrangement with one of the local banks to advance the development of a mortgage guarantee programme”, which was announced in the Budget Statement last month.

The Government said the programme will be “designed to deliver lower financing costs to middle-class families seeking to secure mortgages of $750,000 or less”.

Ms Cranfield said: “The real estate division is very much in support of the Minister of Finance's efforts to advance measures to stimulate the real estate market.

“However, we, like the general public, would like further detail on assistance measures that are to be put in place as regards $750,000 and below mortgages.

“We welcome the opportunities that this will present and look forward to working alongside the Bermuda Government and the bank in advising and assisting these buyers.”

Sharon Cranfield, chairwoman of the real estate division of the Chamber of Commerce (File photograph)

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Published March 02, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated March 02, 2020 at 12:00 am)

Stamp duty relief delay ‘issue’ for buyers

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