Chancellor ponders extension to stamp duty deadline

The Chancellor is considering an extension to the stamp duty holiday by six weeks in order to stop thousands of housing transactions falling though before the deadline, according to reports.

Several news outlets, including The Telegraph, have reported that Rishi Sunak is considering a limited extension through to the middle of May, which would help to alleviate fears that sales could fall through after the March 31 deadline expires.

The move would go someway to appeasing campaigners who have been calling for the stamp duty holiday to be extended, with an online petition calling for a six-month extension beyond 31 March standing at 147,000 signatures.

However, The Telegraph suggested Sunak is opposed to calls for a longer six-month extension due to the “gratuitous” impact this would have on the Treasury’s tax receipts, as the UK continues to fight the economic impact of coronavirus.

Trussle head of mortgages, Miles Robinson, suggested the news of an extension offers a “glimmer of hope” to buyers racing to beat the current deadline of 31 March.

“The stamp duty holiday has caused unprecedented demand within the market,” Robinson said. “We saw a 63% increase in mortgage applications in December and a 15% increase in January, when comparing the same periods year-on year. However, the surge in demand has triggered long delays in the processing of transactions.

“It currently takes 134 days to complete on a property in the UK and it’s been reported that one in five buyers are facing more than a six-month wait for completion. Therefore, a potential six-week extension could prove invaluable to the estimated 100,000 property purchases currently underway.

“However, there will be many who are yet to begin their home ownership journey but still hoping to benefit from the tax relief. For these people, the proposed extension won’t be long enough. Whilst their mortgages might be approved before the deadline, the current wait time for other necessary processes, such as surveys, valuations and local searches are likely to take longer.”

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