A new land transaction tax (LTT) will come into force in Wales on April 1st next year and will replace stamp duty.

The Welsh government estimates that 9 out of 10 home buyers will either pay the same tax or will be better off under the new rules.

The new system means that property buyers will only pay tax if the home they are buying is more than £150,000. The current starting point for stamp duty is £125,000. The latest house price index for Wales showed that an average house costs £150,846, so just above the new threshold.

Those at the other end of the property scale, so those buying homes over £400,000, will find themselves paying 2.5% more than the 5% in England.

People buying houses worth more than £750,000 will pay a tax of 10% and those purchasing over £1.5million will pay 12%.

While those buying homes up to £400,000 will pay almost the same as before, with the average purchaser paying around £500 less than they would under the original stamp duty.

This is the first change in tax in Wales for almost 800 years.

The change in tax has had a mixed reaction. Some have said it will help those trying to get on the property ladder, while others are concerned that it will complicate property taxation even further.

In other property news, new research has found that to afford a new home many first-time buyers are taking on longer term mortgages.

Traditionally, the average term of a mortgage is 25 years, but new figures show that the amount of new buyers taking out 31 to 35 year term mortgages has doubled in the past ten years.

Customer data from London and Country mortgage brokers found that the average mortgage term for first-time buyers is now 27 years.

Spreading the cost of a mortgage means lower monthly repayments, but a bigger repayment sum over the term of the mortgage, as more interest is incurred over a longer period of time. The research also found that in 2007 59% of first-time buyers had mortgage terms of 21 to 25 years, in 2017 that dropped to 39%.

Twenty-two per cent of first time buyers chose a mortgage of between 31 and 35 years, this was only 11% ten years earlier.

In pensions, those who don’t want to run the risk of running out of money in retirement should limit their annual withdrawals from their pot of 1.9%, suggests new research.

The booming stock market means that those who want to take annual withdrawals will have to reduce the amount they take if they want the portfolios to fund their retirements.

Research by investment analyst MorningStar said that the 4% rule, which has been used for withdrawals in previous years, should now be nearer 1.9%, assuming the pension pot needs to last 30 years.

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