Half of conveyancers want SDLT scrapped

Jessica Nangle

January 27, 2021

Over half of conveyancers want SDLT on property purchasers under £500,000 to be scrapped if the government continues with its plan to end the SDLT holiday on 31 March, according to a poll run by Index West Midlands.

More than half (51%) think scrapping stamp duty will be the best course of action, but a fifth still believe the value banding rates have a place and should return to normal from the 1 April.

Around a quarter of conveyancers believe a gradual reintroduction of stamp duty is preferable to an overnight return to the stamp duty charges if the government sticks to its plan to end the holiday on the 31 March.

According to the poll, 14.5% want to see a phased reintroduction over two years and 10.5% said a shorter 12-month reintroduction timescale would be ideal.

The poll’s findings come in the wake of the government confirming that MPs will debate the SDLT holiday extension on Monday 1 February, triggered by an online petition hitting 126,000 signatures.

The poll also revealed that 56% of conveyancers want to see an extension to the stamp duty, making this their top choice for changes to the conveyancing industry in 2021.

Almost a quarter (24%) want more digitisation across the sector, whilst 20% want property exchanges and completions to be possible on Saturdays.

According to the poll, 64% of conveyancers believe the house buying process should be split into two to reduce the stress and anxiety on purchasers, so that the financial transaction stage on one day and the move into the property on the next day.

Kate Bould, managing director of Index West Midlands says: “It’s a relief that House of Commons is set to debate extending the SDLT holiday.

“The future of the property sector and economy depends on it, and our poll confirms that the majority of professionals working in it are against an overnight return to the stamp duty tax rates, believing that it should either be scrapped all together or be given a phased return.

“Without a fresh approach to stamp duty, the property purchases and sales will slowdown and eventually stall, which will be catastrophic for the property sector and the wider economy.”

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