Why the stamp duty holiday MUST be extended
The Chancellor is increasingly under pressure from the property industry to extend the stamp duty holiday and maintain the momentum it has given to the housing market amidst the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.
House prices are on the up, demand is high and the market remained buoyant in 2020, with January set to see high numbers of transactions as buyers race to complete sales before the payment holiday ends. The deadline to reset SDT back to its pre-pandemic rate is 31 March but to do so is looking increasingly foolhardy.
That end date is now coming up fast and that is creating its own problems. Local authorities are inundated with requests for searches and conveyancing services are being stretched to the limit. We are now facing the very real prospect of the market simply dropping off a cliff edge when the payment holiday and the Help to Buy scheme both come to an end at the same time.
So some commentators are urging the Chancellor to honour the SDT holiday for those properties that have exchanged by 31 March but are yet to complete. At Ringley we are adding our voice to those calling for an extension until the worst of the pandemic is over and the market goes back to some semblance of normality.
It is crucial that Government continues to support the housing market. The sector employs more than a million people and is a major driver of the UK economy contributing around 7% each year to GDP. So why rock the boat in a time of crisis?
With moves now being made to come to the aid of thousands of leaseholders who have been unable to sell their homes due to the impact of EWS1 forms, there is still plenty of pent-up demand in the market. Get the leasehold sector moving again, with the added incentive of no stamp duty to pay and the current boom is likely to continue.
By leaving the payment holiday in place, the upswing in housing demand it is generating boosts jobs and income in a sector that supports maintenance, manufacturing and retail as well as the agents, lawyers, surveyors and valuers directly involved in the conveyancing process. We need all the economic help we can get – so why pull the plug now?
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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