With the government set to debate the extension of the stamp duty holiday at 4:30pm today, industry figures reflected on the likelihood of an extension and the impact the tax break has had.
Martin Stewart, director of The Money Group, believes that the stamp duty holiday was a great idea, but executed at the wrong time.
He said: “The demand was already in the system as we came out of lockdown last summer and therefore the stamp duty holiday just served to pour petrol on the fire.
“Given the numbers today that show listed properties in January are at the lowest since 2009, then perhaps now would have been the time to launch the scheme when it is clearly needed to boost a subdued market.”
Nick Morrey, product technical manager at John Charcol, believes that the property industry is desperate for the date to be extended; however, he went on to explain that an extension is not necessarily in the best interests of the government.
He added: “That said, everyone would be very grateful if a concession were to be made to make an alteration from ‘completion by 31 March’ to ‘exchange by 31 March’.
“This is not primarily to allow more people to benefit from the holiday (although it would to a degree) but to ease pressure on lenders, solicitors, removal firms and the individuals involved as moving home is a very stressful time.”
Stewart said that whether the tax relation is extended is anyone’s guess, but agreed with Morrey that an extension for chains that have exchanged would be useful.
He said: “Everyone is clamouring for a return to normality, and I would suggest the sooner we do that by reducing down the reliance on government support, the more natural the markets will become.”
Mike Brown, director of Crystal Clear Financial Services, would like to see the stamp duty holiday extended, as he believes it is having an impact and positive momentum on the market.
Brown added: “It would also take the pressure off of solicitors, who are already creaking at the seams in some cases with the ever looming deadline of 31 March.”
He explained that extending the deadline also eases the pressure on impulse purchases to save the stamp duty.
In addition, Brown noted that it could see some people who have not been able to benefit from the stamp duty holiday before now being able to take advantage.
He said: “Finally, it has been a positive distraction in a very uncertain world, and has allowed people to be able to move on with their lives with a house move.”