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Hopes for homebuyers

….as stamp duty date looms

Homebuyers at risk of missing out on the stamp duty holiday could still be thrown a last minute lifeline as the deadline inches closer.

Property experts are pushing for a ‘fairer’ phasing out of the end of March deadline, rather than a brutal cut off date. It would mean that those who are already in the middle of a purchase would still benefit – not just those lucky enough to complete their purchase in time. Unless the Government relents, up to 325,000 buyers already in the process of a purchase are expected to narrowly miss out on the relief, which offers tax savings of up to £15,000.

Research by the Guild of Property Professionals indicates that up to a third of buyers will abandon their purchase if forced to pay more than expected for stamp duty land tax. Despite the Government stating before Christmas there are no plans to extend the relief, the Treasury is not ruling it out. It says: ‘The temporary stamp duty cut is helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs which rely on the property market by stimulating economic activity.

Its time limited nature is what has encouraged people to take advantage of the scheme.’ It also said the tax is still ‘under review’ and that it is closely monitoring the market. The ‘nil rate band’ for stamp duty - the property value on which tax does not apply – was increased in July last year from £125.000 to £500,000 for all residential home buyers in England and Northern Ireland.

But the move has proved so popular there is a logjam of mortgage applications and administrative procedures to be completed within 12 weeks. The latest lockdown has aggravated the problem. Miles Robinson, of online mortgage broker Trustle, says: ‘Many are calling on the deadline to be extended. As people’s livelihoods continue to be impacted by lockdown restrictions, we could see a review.’

For those buying a home, Robinson says speed and communication are key to meeting the deadline. He adds: ‘Make sure everyone in the chain knows you are working towards the deadline’.

At Wilsons, we are very hopeful that an extension to the March 31st deadline will be extended, in particular for sales agreed and in the pipeline. In the meantime, we are are not just working towards the deadline, we are trying to shift heaven and earth to beat the deadline on behalf of all our buyers and sellers involved.   

By Julia Willey

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