UK property industry calls for extension to stamp duty holiday

The stamp duty holiday is scheduled to end on 31st March 2021, but many in the UK property industry are lobbying the government to extend it.

Pent-up demand has created a surge in activity in the property market since it reopened after a temporary shutdown earlier in the year. In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the stamp duty holiday, which can save homebuyers up to £15,000. Since then, the housing market has been booming as buyers and sellers look to complete property purchases before the deadline at the end of March.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher stated in October that the government does not plan to extend the stamp duty holiday. However, many in the property industry are putting pressure on the government to review this decision.

Pressure is mounting for an extension

With the increase in property sales, pressure is mounting on conveyancers, lenders, surveyors and agents. They are dealing with record volumes of transactions, leading to buyers and sellers facing delays. With 140,000 additional sales in the pipeline than usual for this time of year, Zoopla states that only half of sales agreed in January will be completed by the stamp duty holiday deadline.

During the past few months, The Guild of Property Professionals has been lobbying the government to extend the temporary holiday. The guild sent a letter to the government with backing from several industry bodies. They laid out the benefits of extending the stamp duty holiday. This included benefits for the industry, wider economy and people in the process of buying a home.

In a blog post, The Guild of Property Professionals states: “We hope that the Government extends the Stamp Duty and Land Transaction holiday for another six months, or at the very least introduces a phasing-out period that will ease the pressure on all parties involved, and will prevent a cliff edge.”

The guild has also asked its members and others in the property sector to send letters to their local MPs. They feel this would further increase pressure on the government to extend the stamp duty holiday.

MPs show encouraging support

According to the Guild of Property Professionals, many of its members have received responses from MPs. The responses included standardised replies showing support for extending the tax holiday. However, no confirmation or specific details have been given.

A paragraph from the standard response includes: “I understand concerns regarding the backlog of transactions and the impact this could have on people whose purchases may complete after 31 March and I will alert my ministerial colleagues to the strength of feeling on this matter.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of the guild, says he is “encouraged” members have received responses from MPs. However, the government has not agreed to extend the tax holiday, so the deadline remains in place.

Improve your chances of completing by the deadline

In case an extension is not announced, homebuyers and buy-to-let investors need to act quickly to improve their chances of completing their property transaction before the stamp duty holiday deadline. If you haven’t already, start your property search today.

Purchasing a home that is not in a chain, such as a new-build direct from a developer, can often improve buyers chances of completing more quickly. Before viewing properties, apply for a mortgage agreement in principle. Additionally, get all of the necessary paperwork ready before officially applying for a mortgage. Organising paperwork for the conveyancer can also be helpful.

As soon as your offer has been accepted, instruct a conveyancer. Throughout the entire buying process, respond promptly to any queries. Keep up communication with all of the professionals involved in your property purchase to ensure everything is on track.

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