In September last year we reported that first time buyers do not pay stamp duty when buying a property for less than £250,000.00. There are some exceptions to this, but in general terms the relief will apply if you (and your partner, if buying together) have never owned a property before.
However this exemption is set to end on 24th March 2012 unless extended by the government. So, if you have been thinking about buying and have perhaps found your ideal property, then if the price is less than £250,000 it makes sense to set the ball rolling now so that you can complete before the cut off date. Stamp duty is otherwise payable on any property purchase where the price is over £125,000 at a rate of 1%, 3% if over £250,000, 4% if over £500,000 and 5% if over £1M.