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DEAR RISHI, 15 industry heavyweights write to Chancellor to avert stamp duty ‘cliff edge’

Unprecedented cross-industry open letter warns Rishi Sunak of dangers should he insist on 31st March stamp duty holiday cut-off.

Nigel Lewis

stamp duty

A letter signed by all the key players in the property sales industry from agents to removals firms has signed a join open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the looming stamp duty crisis.

The unprecedented letter calls for the government to reconsider its position on the stamp duty holiday and the current Help to Buy scheme, both of which are due to end on 31st March next year.

Signatories to the letter tell Sunak that this is putting the housing market infrastructure under huge pressure as hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers, agents, surveyors, lenders and conveyancers strain under pressure to complete sales before the deadline.

“Operational constraints in all areas of the home buying industry caused by the disruption brought about by Covid-19 and the current advice to work at home where possible, have seen average property transaction times lengthen from 12 weeks to 20 weeks,” the letter says.

“We are concerned that consumers continue to offer on properties expecting to benefit from the SDLT rate reduction but in reality they may be too late.”

The letter calls for a six-month extension of the stamp duty holiday to September 2021, and for measures to be introduced that would ‘smooth out’ any cliff edge and create a more orderly return to normal market conditions.

The letter has been signed by 14 different organisations including BAR, NAEA Propertymark, The Guild of Property Professionals, the Residential Property Surveyors Association, Conveyancing Association, Society of Licenced Conveyancers, Kate Faulkner, the House Buying and Selling Group, conveyancing giant Simplify, MAB, Landmark and Purplebricks.

Important step

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark says: “The joint letter sent to the Chancellor today is an important step in protecting those in the process of buying or selling a house that might miss out on the 31st March stamp duty deadline because of increased pressure on service providers within the industry, which is causing delays for buyers and sellers in the sector.

“The boom, caused by the stamp duty holiday, has been hugely beneficial for the housing market; however, the stamp duty cliff edge on the 31st March could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a knock on and drastic effect on the housing market which has recovered well from the Covid slump.

“We are calling on Government to rethink these timings, so pressure on the system can be released to allow transactions to complete and avoid a disorderly and distressing period for movers and businesses throughout the market.”

Read more about the stamp duty deadline.

October 29, 2020

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