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Average stamp duty hits �2,000
23/02/08
The average homebuyer has seen their stamp duty bill soar by more than 60% during the past five years to reach nearly �2,000 in 2007.

Stamp duty bills across the UK averaged �1,971 last year, up from around �1,211 in 2002, according to Britain's biggest mortgage lender Halifax.

The group said people buying a property in nearly one in three local authorities in the UK now needed to save the equivalent of more than 20% of local average annual earnings to meet the bill, up from people in just 5% of local authorities in 2002.

Unsurprisingly, people buying a home in London and the South East face the biggest stamp duty bills due to higher property prices in the regions.

In the South East the average home buyer needs to save the equivalent of 23% of average annual earnings, while in London they need to save the equivalent of 21%.

But at the other end of the scale stamp duty bills in Scotland still average just 5% of annual local pay.

People pay stamp duty when they buy a property, with the tax charged at 1% of a property's value on homes worth between �125,000 and �250,000, rising to 3% on homes worth between �250,000 and �500,000 and 4% for properties worth more than �500,000.

Homebuyers in South Buckinghamshire paid the most stamp duty during 2007, with the bill from the tax averaging a massive �21,241, the equivalent of nearly half the amount local people could expect to earn in a year.

The tax was also high in Kensington and Chelsea in London, where it equalled 47% of average earnings, as well as in Chiltern in Buckinghamshire where it was around 44%, and Camden in London at 40%.

The group said the 20 areas where people faced the highest stamp duty bills were all in the south, although it added that the figures could be distorted due to the wide variation in earnings in these areas.

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