Stamp duty break likely

First-time Caymanian homebuyers will likely be getting an even bigger stamp duty break when purchasing properties costing less than $300,000.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush tabled a motion to further reduce stamp duty rates for Caymaninas in the Legislative Assembly last week.

Mr. Bush said that it was an attempt to make the purchase of a first property more affordable for Caymanians in light of rising local property prices and the high cost of living.

First-time Caymanian homebuyers are already exempt from paying stamp duty on properties costing less than $200,000, but must pay a two per cent rate on the total cost of a property exceeding that price.

The motion asks for a tiered stamp duty arrangement where homebuyers would pay only a two per cent stamp duty on the portion of the purchase price exceeding $200,000 but not exceeding $300,000, easing the stamp duty burden significantly, and creating the possibility for maximum savings of approximately $10,000 on a $299,999 home compared to the current programme.

Government Leader Kurt Tibbetts agreed that market conditions make it difficult to find properties in the lower price range, and agreed the concession would be looked into.

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said that existing stamp duty concessions, which came into effect 1 July already make it relatively easier for Caymanian homebuyers to purchase their first properties, but before any decision to further extend concessions to incorporate the proposed motion is made, government will need to analyse the overall impact this move may have on revenues by examining the first six month revenue streams of the 2006/2007 budget.

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