The hoped-for extension to the stamp duty holiday was not announced in the chancellor’s spending review, meaning that it will end on March 31st 2021.
Surveyors, solicitors, and estate agents were among the many who had called for the deadline to be extended beyond this to help stimulate the housing market next year.
Perhaps understandably, the spending review focussed on funding for public services in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, however there have been widespread calls for the extension to the stamp duty holiday amid fears that a high number of buyers will fail to complete before the March 31st deadline.
Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving, commented: “Thousands of homebuyers up and down the country are facing the prospect of missing out on the stamp duty holiday if their purchase doesn’t complete by 31st March.
“In practical terms we will see a rapid worsening of the current bottleneck in the conveyancing process as everyone rushes to complete by the deadline, with many transactions inevitably delayed as solicitors struggle to cope. This will cost buyers thousands in stamp duty they haven’t budgeted for, in many cases making the move unaffordable and causing chains to break down.”
“Extending the holiday would have helped support the housing market, promote economic activity and preserve people’s financial security at a critical time,” he added.
It may not have come as much surprise that this was not referenced by Rishi Sunak, there are other pressing issues he has to deal with, however, greater clarity around the issue is needed with the deadline now only four months away.
An extension or gradual tapering off, rather than a sudden halt to the stamp duty holiday would have helped to ensure that thousands did not miss out on the savings and also relieved the pressure on the property professionals. Extra breathing space would also help the industry to work through a huge backlog of transactions built up in recent months.
An extension to the stamp duty holiday would also help to stimulate the housing market throughout 2021 when it will be up against tough economic conditions. Further stamp duty measures could also help to avoid a sharp drop-off of property supply and demand in April.
Whether or not the holiday will be extended, an announcement clarifying the position should be made public soon to allow property professionals and consumers to prepare for what is ahead.
If you are planning to buy property in the coming months, then you are strongly advised to have an independent survey done. Buying a house is the single most expensive purchase most of us will ever make and having a survey done might make you reconsider whether to buy the property or use the independent and unbiased opinion to renegotiate the price based on the findings. If the house needs a lot of work doing on the roof for example, it is not unreasonable to ask the seller to reduce the price by the amount you would have to spend to rectify the problem. Alternatively, you could ask for the work to be completed before you progress with the purchase.
Using a RICS Chartered Surveyor will give you peace of mind that the house has been looked at by an experienced and qualified professional and the cost of a survey can be looked at as an investment in your new home and your peace of mind. In fact, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have researched that properties who have not had a survey will face an average of £5,750 in repair bills due to hidden defects.
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