A parliamentary e-petition started by home buyer worried about his purchase missing the Stamp Duty holiday cut-off deadline has now garnered over 109,000 signatures, picking up over 15,000 over the weekend.
This means the parliamentary Petitions Committee will be forced to consider debating the ‘cliff face’, which many buyers and estate agents worry will mean thousands of transactions that fail to complete by 31st March will fall through as buyers abandon purchases or demand price-cuts to reflect the additional Stamp Duty cost.
If given the green light, the debate date will be announced once the committee is reconvened.
This includes research revealed today by Rightmove that it estimates 100,000 sales are likely to miss the deadline.
“There are still a huge number of sales agreed in 2020 that are stuck in the processing logjam and awaiting legal completion, with many hoping to beat the impending tax deadline,” says Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data (pictured).
“For those who fail to do so, there may be difficulties if they have factored the tax savings into their budget calculations.
“The challenge of processing so many transactions in less than three months is made even tougher by the new lockdown restrictions, COVID-19 sickness and homeschooling further reducing capacity in conveyancing, legal searches and mortgage lending.”
Political pressure is also growing on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to modify or extend the Stamp Duty holiday.
Over the weekend a group of 50 Tory MPs who form the Northern Research Group have told Ministers that stamp duty should be permanently removed for homes sold for under £500,000.
“We support the Northern Research Group’s call and we have been calling on Government for some time to rethink the 31 March deadline, 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,” says Propertymark Chief Policy Advisor Mark Hayward (pictured).
Dominic Agace, CEO of Winkworth, says: “In the longer term, stamp duty should be scrapped or reformed.
“It has repressed people’s choices since it was introduced as a non-financeable sum paid by the buyer, not by the seller out of the proceeds of the sale.
“It has blocked a huge number of people from ‘rightsizing’, particularly amongst young families looking for more space where the payments are substantial. The tax was aimed originally at the very wealthy but, in reality, it hits hard working families in London and the South-east of England. A family house in most parts of suburban London now costs over £1m.