In July 2020, the UK Government introduced a Stamp Duty Land Tax suspension on the first £500,000 of all property sales in a bid to help boost the property market, and many buyers across the country have been keen to take advantage of this.
The aim of this holiday was to aid buyers who have taken a financial hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving an average saving of £4,500. It was also intended as a boost to the property market which was hit by lockdown, which saw property prices fall for four months in a row.
Since the SDLT holiday was implemented, many professionals, such as estate agents and property solicitors, have seen a huge increase in demand, with many more houses being placed on the market. It has also caused an increase in house prices, a jump that was higher than any since August 2009 (prices increased by 1.7% month on month) and residential property transactions rose by 21.3% in September 2020.
There is currently an ongoing petition for the holiday to be extended further, as there are fears that once the holiday ends on 31st March 2021, many property transactions which are ongoing may fall through as buyers may not have budgeted for the payment of the SDLT. This petition has amassed over 147,000 signatures so far. There are reports that the holiday may be extended by six weeks, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Buyers are warned to be cautious in their property searches and factor into their budget any payments of SDLT. Transactions are taking significantly longer to complete during the coronavirus pandemic for several reasons, such as delayed property search results and delayed mortgage offers.
For more information please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/stamp-duty-land-tax-temporary-reduced-rates and to view the petition calling for an extension please visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/550545.
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