The Stamp Duty Holiday deadline is thought to have been granted a three-month extension by Rishi Sunak, running now to the end of June. Following fierce campaigning by agents, property commentators, and economists, the extension is expected to be announced in the budget later today.
It is still not clear whether the extension for the three months will be for all current and new buyers up to £500,000 causing a ‘cliff edge’ or a ‘tapered extension only for current buyers who are in the midst of their purchases.
The Building Societies Association had advocated a three-month extension in response to the cliff edge deadline of the 31st March, as buyers and sellers who had already agreed sales and approved mortgages would be unlikely to complete with the deadline.
According to the BSA, a tapered end to the stamp duty holiday would allow any house purchase where the mortgage approval has been granted by the end of March to still complete and benefit from the rate reduction. As well as supporting buyers, this would also allow lenders and conveyancers to manage operational pressures in a COVID safe way.
In contrast, a more radical way of ending the stamp duty holiday has been suggested by three different legal bodies. The suggested response is to allow any transaction on which a conveyancing lawyer has been formally instructed by a buyer before 28th February to qualify for the exemption.
Many are of the opinion that it is imperative to return the property market to normality as soon as possible following the COVID restrictions and their effects.
Ahead of today’s announcement, we asked our Head of Residential Sales, James Morton for his opinion on the stamp duty holiday extension.
“So far in 2021, we have seen no decline in activity when it comes to buying and selling property. Over the coming months, we are expecting a number of market-boosting factors to come into play in the property market. The expected extension to stamp duty, government-backed 5% deposit scheme, easement of lockdown regulations allowing more people to meet and transact, and possible changes to capital gains tax affecting landlords. Combine all of these elements with what has always been the busiest time of year, I expect to see a property market in full swing.”