The Times has reported that Rishi Sunak will extend the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday for a further three months, till the end of June. This will certainly help the thousands of transactions currently going through which allow more time for existing property deals to be completed.
A petition attracting 150,000 signatures in support of an extension shows the depth of feeling amongst buyers and sellers, agents, conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors. Whilst the Treasury might miss out on an estimated £1bn of revenue, this Chancellor has done more than most to maintain the government’s popularity as much as possible throughout the pandemic.
The move will almost certainly assist economic recovery by reinflating the residential property sales market which declined noticeably in the last two months.
The ‘but’ however is that extending SDLT will merely replicate the rush for sales that we’ve just experienced in the past three months.
Reported here, David Westgate, Group Chief Executive, Andrews Property Group, sums it up very well, “We will have the same cliff edge scenario in three months with buyers desperately rushing to complete sales, but facing delays due to conveyancing issues.
“Conveyancers are already struggling to work their way through the growing pile of cases accumulating on their desks. Extending the deadline to the end of June will simply add a whole lot more cases to the bottom of the pile, and clog up the system.
“Also, bear in mind that with lockdown restrictions due to be lifted, this will fuel the property market as we come into the traditionally busy Spring period. Transactions could go through the roof causing more bottlenecks in the conveyancing process.
“A much better solution would be a tapered end to the stamp duty holiday to allow conveyancers the time to work their way through cases.”
We’ll know soon enough, the Spring Budget is on Wednesday, March 3.
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The above is accurate as at 26 February 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.