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Stamp duty holiday could be extended beyond March

Extending the stamp duty holiday will be on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mind as we enter another national lockdown, property experts have said.

The tax break, which was introduced in July to help restart the housing market after it ground to a halt during the spring lockdown, is set to finish on 31 March.

However, there have been increasing calls for it to be extended – both to allow for delays in the system caused by a fresh third lockdown, and to galvanise the property market if the restrictions proved to be a dampener.

Although the property market will stay open during the upcoming lockdown, logistical issues and buyers’ personal safety concerns mean that levels of activity could still drop.

Andrew Montlake, managing director at mortgage broker Coreco, said that he ‘would not be surprised’ if Sunak decided to extend the deadline.

‘Though the property market remains technically open, there will now be considerably more logistical issues for the simple reason that a lot of people will be working from home,’ he said.

‘Lenders, valuers and conveyancers are already experiencing bottlenecks and delays given the sheer amount of applications going through, and the administrative upheaval caused by the latest lockdown will only serve to accentuate them.

‘We would not be surprised if the Treasury makes an announcement this week about extending the stamp duty deadline to keep demand alive and give the property industry some much needed wiggle room.’

Under the terms of the stamp duty holiday, the first £500,000 of any property purchase is exempt from the tax. This can save buyers up to £15,000.

George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agent Radstock Property, said that transactions that were already under way could fall behind due to the new lockdown. Read from source….