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Government urged to backdate cut in stamp duty to help recent buyers

The removal of stamp duty from the first £500,000 will come as a 'bitter blow' to those who have just completed.

Richard Reed

Plans to remove stamp duty on the first £500,000 of a property with immediate effect will be a “bitter blow” for those who have just completed on a purchase, say residential law experts.

While conveyancers have said the temporary move would come as a “welcome relief” to those who are in the process of purchasing, it would be a “bitter blow’” for hundreds who had already finalised proceedings since the start of lockdown in March.

Sarah Ryan, head of conveyancing at law firm Simpson Millar, said it was most likely to affect new-build buyers and those who had been on the cusp of completion at the start of the pandemic.

She went on to urge the government to make the savings retrospective to allow the costs to be recovered by “potentially hundreds of people”, many of whom may be facing money worries as a result of the crisis.

Call for rethink

“We of course welcome the plans announced today to freeze the stamp duty costs on any property up to the value of £500,000, which will not only encourage potential buyers to move on and up the proverbial ladder, but will also help to retain jobs in the real estate sector,” she said.

“However, there is no denying that for some, in particular those individuals, couples and families who have managed to complete on the purchase of their home either during lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath, this will come as a bitter blow.

“This is most likely to affect those who have bought a new-build property as many of those transactions could go ahead despite social distancing, as well as those who were all ready to finalise proceedings once the rules relaxed last month.

“We would urge the government to make the scheme retrospective so that those individuals can also benefit from the cost savings.”

July 8, 2020

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