Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announced a stamp duty extension to the end of June in his budget speech next week, it has been leaked.
The Times has reported this morning that Sunak wants to keep the property market in good shape as the economy emerges from its Covid deep freeze.
This will be good news for the thousands sales currently going through the conveyancing process at the moment. Rightmove estimates an additional 300,000 property transactions in England could benefit from the tax saving of an extended holiday, based on previous HMRC data.
“Currently, Rightmove estimates that 100,000 buyers who agreed a purchase last year are set to lose out, if the deadline stays as 31st March,” a spokesperson says.
Moving the stamp duty holiday ‘cliff face’ to June 30th would also align the market with the final easing or restrictions announced by Boris Johnson in his roadmap announcement on Monday.
The leaked announcement ahead of the 3rd March budget announcement also suggests that the Ministers have been listening to the industry.
Agents, conveyancers, surveyors, lenders and removal firms have all been warning since the New Year that the logjams in the sales progression process were due to deny hundreds of thousands of home buyers their chance to enjoy the zero-rate for homes bought under £500,000.
A parliamentary e-petition which has now garnered some 150,330 signatures, an unprecedented number for a property-related campaign of this kind, also prompted many MPs to call on the chancellor to exend the measure after March 31st.
What agents say…
Dominic Agace, chief executive of Winkworth (pictured) says: “This is great news, as it helps all those who, through no fault of their own, were set to face unexpected costs arising from a deadline set two lockdowns ago.
“This will ensure the property market maintains its positive influence in the economy in the tricky next few months as we start a sustained Covid recovery. I do hope that longer term stamp duty reform isn’t forgotten. Ultimately, the property market needs longer term reform as well, to ensure it is a healthy functioning market, allowing people to achieve their aspirations and supporting the economy in the long term.”
Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor, Propertymark comments: “Since the holiday was first announced we have continually worked to galvanise the industry and lobby Government to rethink these timings due to our concerns that a cliff edge in 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-19 slump.
“However, extending the holiday until June will create another cliff edge.
“We know from our own research that the majority of estate agents expect to see an increase in the number of failed sales if the stamp duty holiday ends at a cliff edge so we need Government to consider a tapered end to the holiday so that buyers aren’t forced to pull out at the last minute and the property market can continue to thrive.”
Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving says: “This policy has been critical in keeping the housing market moving through the pandemic but I would urge the Government to restrict this extension to buyers already in the conveyancing process – so those who have had their offer accepted and appointed a solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work.
“This gives buyers who began their homebuying journey in good time but have been subject to delays, a new window to complete.
Marc von Grundherr of Benham and Reeves, says: “Thousands of homebuyers across the nation will be breathing a huge sigh of relief over the announcement to extend the current stamp duty deadline, having spent months on end waiting to complete with no finish line in sight.
“That said, those currently working in overdrive to clear the backlog of transactions at the legal stages may feel differently, with many more months of long days now on the cards.
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