Stamp duty holiday could be extended beyond March


Stamp duty holiday could be extended beyond March due to England’s new national lockdown, say property experts

  • Extending the tax break will be on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mind, they say 
  • Doing this would ‘keep demand alive’ in housing market during lockdown 
  • It would also take pressure off buyers trying to complete by 31 March deadline 
  • The Treasury will not confirm or deny whether it is being considered 

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.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, could consider extending the stamp duty holiday past March

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, could consider extending the stamp duty holiday past March 

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. 

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‘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. 

He said that the stamp duty holiday should be extended by a month, until 30 April, so that these people could still complete in time.  

‘In theory, it’s business as usual for the property market but in practice that’s simply not the case,’ he said. 

‘Transactions are already under a lot of time pressure and the new lockdown will compound the issue, as people work from home or fall ill with the new strain.

‘Extending the deadline by at least another month to reflect the new national lockdown seems like the right thing to do in the current circumstances and I’m sure it’s on Rishi Sunak’s agenda.’

The stamp duty relief contributed to a property market boom in the second half of 2020

The stamp duty relief contributed to a property market boom in the second half of 2020

He also said that extending the holiday could benefit the wider economy in the long-term. 

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The property market boomed in the second half of 2020, thanks in part to the stamp duty relief, and the value of the average home increased by £15,000 – eating up more than the potential tax saving on it.

‘The property market is providing vital fuel for the economy, and the Treasury will want to ensure that continues during the potentially challenging months ahead,’ Franks said.  

‘Extending the stamp duty holiday is a way for the Government to give people something to cheer about when there’s so little to cheer about, as public sentiment and the property market are closely related.’  

Asked by This is Money whether it planned to extend the stamp duty holiday, the Treasury did not give a firm answer. 

‘The temporary stamp duty cut is helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs which rely on the property market by stimulating economic activity’, a spokesperson said. 

‘Its time-limited nature is what has encouraged people to take advantage of the scheme.’



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