Housebuyers urged to take advantage of stamp duty holiday
Sarah Sargent, partner and Head of Residential Property at Lupton Fawcett, answers your questions on property issues.
Q. If I buy a property now will I complete by 31st March for the Stamp Duty Holiday?
A. You are right to question this. The current Stamp Duty Land Tax relief is set to expire on 31st March 2021 and so if you are to benefit from this relief you need to have completed the purchase by 31st March 2021. The current relief for Stamp Duty Land Tax allows buyers to purchase property without having the Stamp Duty Land Tax liability up to £500,000, so long as the property is your primary residence and you complete your sale on the same day (or before subject to certain conditions).
Completion means that you have to have transferred the monies to complete on your purchase and the Transfer must be dated on or before 31st March 2021. If you choose to move house at a later date then that is fine, provided that the Contract has completed and the Transfer is dated.
You should be aware that a standard transaction would usually take between 6-8 weeks to complete but we are not operating in standard times.
Covid-19 has taken its toll on the housing market and there are currently delays with both searches and mortgage offers. These delays vary between different Local Authorities and lenders but we have seen delays of up to 2 months. If we then have to report anything to a lender we will then face further delays as their response times are significantly longer than they were before Covid-19.
You should make sure you have taken advice on the current Stamp Duty Land Tax position and spoken with your Financial Advisor to make sure that would be in a financial position to proceed if the purchase did not complete by 31st March 2021
The holiday means buyers could be saving as much as £15,000 in tax, on properties up to £500,000.
The Conveyancing industry is working through unprecedented times and whilst we are working our hardest to try and ensure that your matters complete before the end of the Stamp Duty relief scheme, there are no guarantees. If you are wanting to complete before the scheme ends you will need to instruct your solicitor asap but you should understand that there are no guarantees that you will complete by 31st March 2021.