Monday, April 12, 2021
Real EstateUK

Property chiefs say stamp duty extension would be welcome

Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the measure in 2020 in order to stimulate Britain’s housing market which slumped during the first national lockdown

Stamp duty holidays, business rates concerns and furlough extensions are among the big issues members of the West Midlands property community are hoping Chancellor Rishi Sunak will address in his Budget speech this week.

Media reports are already suggesting that the current stamp duty holiday could be extended from March 31 to July.

Mr Sunak introduced the measure in 2020 in order to stimulate Britain’s housing market which slumped during the first national lockdown.

The idea was to incentivise potential home buyers by increasing the threshold at which stamp duty is charged on homes from £125,000 to £500,000.

Understandably, this features heavily among experts.

Ramona Hirschi, managing director of estate agency Belvoir in Stoke-on-Trent, welcomes the potential extension of the stamp duty holiday.

She said: I hope to see a sensible solution to the issue, such as allowing all transactions currently ‘sold subject to contract’ to complete with the benefit of the holiday even beyond March 31.

That would reduce aborted transactions or fall-throughs for estate agencies, solicitors, mortgage brokers and other suppliers. Without this, there would be a massive loss of productivity and revenue across sectors, Hirschi said.

I would also like to see continued support to keep people in employment as that would keep the property market moving by enabling people to rent or buy houses, she said. So far, the Government’s various support packages to business and workers have been working to keep the housing market strong. We need to see more of that in the Budget.

Also backing an extension to the stamp duty holiday is Andy Foote, a director at Birmingham developer SevenCapital.

This is welcome news for many buyers and investors who are waiting for completions on their property and welcome news for the market, he said.

With the increased activity over recent months, prompted by a combination of the effects of lockdown and the stamp duty holiday, the industry has been under heightened pressure to hit the deadline with a significantly higher-than-expected number of completions to process, Foote said.

He said that there’s also the added pressure for buyers themselves, particularly where a chain is involved. The question is would a huge collapse in transactions occur without the extension? It’s certainly a risk that the UK needs to avoid and much of it may well come down to affordability.

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