Homebuyers at risk of missing out on stamp duty holiday could still be thrown last-minute lifeline
By LAURA SHANNON, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY
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 those who are already in the middle of a purchase would still benefit – not just those lucky enough to complete in time.
Lifeline: Property experts are pushing for a 'fairer' phasing out of the end of March deadline, rather than a brutal cut-off date
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 Trussle, 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.'