New figures published by the government have revealed that 69,000 first-time home buyers have benefited from the recent changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rules. Under rules that came into effect on 22 November 2017, SDLT has been abolished for first time buyers making a purchase of up to £300,000. The figures covered the period from the introduction of the relief on 22 November 2017 until the end of March 2018. The total amount of SDLT relieved was estimated at £159 million; half of which was seen in London and the South East. The average amount of SDLT relieved was £2,300 with London having the highest average of £4,300 and Northern Ireland the lowest at £800. First time buyers’ relief was claimed on 19% of all residential transactions in the period.Commenting on the figures, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:’I’m proud that the cut to stamp duty for first-time buyers is helping to realise the dream of home ownership for a new generation, alongside building more homes in the right areas, and generous schemes such as theLifetime ISA and Help to Buy.’The first time buyers’ relief is also available on the first £300,000 of the purchase price for properties valued at up to £500,000 resulting in SDLT savings of up to £5,000 compared to other house buyers. These changes have effectively increased the nil-rate threshold from £125,000 to £300,000 for first-time buyers of properties costing up to £500,000. There is no relief available for first-time buyers spending more than £500,000 on a property. Unlike the temporary Stamp Duty holiday that applied from 2010-12 this change is permanent.