Slamming the stamp duty holiday door shut on the 31st March would be a ‘massive own goal’ for the government, the CEO of the Leaders Romans Group (LRG) has said.
Peter Kavanagh, who has worked at LRG for 27 years and held the top job since January last year, says his company’s evidence of lengthening transaction times for property sales are making the cut-off date more and more problematical for LRG and the wider industry.
“Tens of thousands of people who entered into buying and selling property in the expectation of a stamp duty holiday are going to get caught out,” he says.
Kavanagh highlights that, if buyers aren’t already in a transaction, then they will do very well to achieve exchange by 31st March, never mind completion, and that many home buyers incorrectly believe they can hang on till January.
“I think that there will be, or should be, some form of transition arrangement or extension to the stamp duty holiday,” he adds.
Kavanagh is not alone in his thoughts on stamp duty. Conveyancers are also hoping for an extension to help them process the huge backlog of transactions roaring through the sales progression pipeline.
Tom Scarborough, chief executive of MoveWise.co.uk, says: “There’s a growing call for the stamp duty holiday deadline to be extended to avoid thousands of property transactions collapsing in February and March.”
And Kavanagh says he isn’t sure there are quick-fixes for the conveyancing process to help speed up sales transactions.
“The problem is the lack of capacity in the conveyancing and mortgage systems to deal with kind of sudden increase in transactions,” he says.
Read our full interview with Peter in the January issue of The Negotiator magazine.