Gov’t called on to restrict stamp duty holiday extension to those already in progress
The government has been called on to restrict the use of an extended stamp duty holiday to those already in the conveyancing process.
Rumours have surfaced today that the Chancellor will use his Budget on 3 March to extend the tax break for a further three months.
This would see homebuyers exempt from paying the tax on properties worth up to £500,000 until June 2021 – but Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving, said the government should restrict the holiday.
He said: “This policy has been critical in keeping the housing market moving through the pandemic but I would urge the government to restrict this extension to buyers already in the conveyancing process – so those who have had their offer accepted and appointed a solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work.
“This gives buyers who began their homebuying journey in good time but have been subject to delays, a new window to complete.
“While the holiday has been helpful for second steppers and those higher up the ladder, it has also caused prices to rise dramatically over the last year at the expense of first-time buyers.
“They have faced greater competition for homes, price increases and a restricted mortgage market – which led to a 12% fall in the proportion of first-time buyers in the market in the second half of 2020.”
He warned: “Encouraging a new rush of buyers into the market could once again have a detrimental effect on first-time buyer share which has recovered strongly since the start of the year, back up to 58% of transactions from a low of 46% last September.”