Property sector industry bodies have collaboratively come together and sent an open and frank letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, requesting a six month extension of the current stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday.
Since the announcement of the SDLT holiday on 8 July, there has been growing calls to extend the holiday as the property market experienced a mini-boom following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, log jams appearing in the transaction pipeline and conveyancers under huge amounts of pressure to ensure that the transactions progress as smoothly as possible.
Many feel that due to the current delays it’s nigh on impossible for many transactions to complete before the 31 March deadline, despite clients thinking that they’ve done all they need to in plenty of time.
The letter said:
“Operational constraints in all areas of the home buying industry caused by the disruption brought about by Covid-19 and the current advice to work at home where possible, have seen average property transaction times lengthen from 12 weeks to 20 weeks.
“We are concerned that consumers continue to offer on properties expecting to benefit from the SDLT rate reduction but in reality they may be too late.”
The letter said the six month extension would ‘smooth out’ any cliff edge and facilitate an orderly return to regular market conditions.
Signatories of the letter were NAEA Propertymark, The Guild of Property Professionals, the Residential Property Surveyors Association, Conveyancing Association, Society of Licenced Conveyancers, Kate Faulkner, the House Buying and Selling Group, Simplify, MAB, Landmark and Purplebricks.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark said:
“The joint letter sent to the Chancellor today is an important step in protecting those in the process of buying or selling a house that might miss out on the 31st March stamp duty deadline because of increased pressure on service providers within the industry which is causing delays for buyers and sellers in the sector. The group endorsing this letter represents the breadth of the home moving process including estate agents, search agents, mortgage intermediaries, conveyancing, surveying, energy assessors and removal companies.
“The boom, caused by the stamp duty holiday, has been hugely beneficial for the housing market; however, the stamp duty cliff edge on the 31st March could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a knock on and drastic effect on the housing market which has recovered well from the Covid slump. We are calling on Government to rethink these timings, so pressure on the system can be released to allow transactions to complete and avoid a disorderly and distressing period for movers and businesses throughout the market.”