If you are in the process of buying a property, you may have considered whether you will be able to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, allowing you to save up to £15,000 on your property purchase. In this article, we look at the extension of the stamp duty holiday and the potential impact for buyers and sellers on how transactions will proceed.
Stamp duty holiday – demand and delays
The stamp duty holiday was introduced to stimulate the property market and means that until the end of March 2021, the level at which stamp duty is charged on a residential property has been raised to £500,000. However, arguably, the scheme has been too successful, putting pressure on the industry as more people race to take advantage of the tax break.
Coupled with operations restrictions, the stamp duty holiday has slowed almost every part of the conveyancing process. Surveyors, mortgage lenders, search agencies and conveyancing lawyers are struggling to meet demand which means that the average property transaction completion time has increased from 12 weeks to 16 weeks. As a result, new buyers are unlikely to meet the March 31st deadline to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.
Stamp duty holiday be extended
The government has stated that it will extend the stamp duty holiday until the 30th June 2021 to allow more time for transactions – existing and new.
Additionally the Government has confirmed the return of 95% mortgages on properties worth up to £600,000
What can buyers and sellers do?
There are several things that both buyers and sellers can do to ensure their property transaction moves and efficiently as possible:
- Instruct a solicitor. Buyers should instruct a solicitor as soon as an offer is accepted, and sellers should instruct a solicitor as soon as their property is listed.
- Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is required by law, and you may still need to get one. You should also gather other paperwork, such as planning permissions and compliance certificates from any works done.
- Sort out a mortgage in principle. Before you make an offer on a property, start the mortgage process. Many lenders are experiencing delays, and mortgage options are fewer – particularly for first-time buyers. Get a head start.
- Consider time for searches. Many local authorities are struggling to keep up with the demand for searches. Discuss with your solicitors what options there may be dependent upon your lender’s requirements.
If you are need of a solicitor to deal with your conveyancing – contact us today.
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