There is growing demand for an extension to the stamp duty holiday from many of those who have started the buying process but have yet to complete, fresh research shows.
According to a new survey of existing homebuyers, 67% of respondents want to see the stamp duty holiday extended while almost half are deeply concerned that they will miss the current end of March deadline.
The holiday has given the housing market a much-needed boost after it ground to a halt during the second quarter of last year following the lockdown in late March.
The housing market has exploded into life in recent months with mortgage approvals, transactions and property prices all increasing notably.
But while the current stamp duty holiday has been largely credited for this, just a quarter – 25% – of homebuyers stated that it was the driving motivation behind their decision to acquire property, with 71% buying for alternative reasons.
Since the property sector reopened for business, buyers have flooded the market and this heightened activity has caused notable delays and a backlog of sales, largely at the backend legal stages of the transaction process.
With many purchasers left in limbo and waiting to complete, almost half – 48% – of homebuyers are worried that their sale will not complete before the 31 March deadline and they will still be required to pay stamp duty.
No surprise then, that two-thirds of respondents would like to see the current stamp duty holiday extended beyond the end of March.
A petition calling for the government to extend the stamp duty holiday until September 2021 has now attracted more than 72,000 signatures.
Hugh Wade-Jones, managing director of Enness Global Mortgages, commented: “It’s clear that the opportunity to save on stamp duty has helped to revitalise the UK property market in what have been tough times due to Covid.
“However, for many homebuyers it has been an added bonus rather than the driving factor behind their intent to purchase, with just 25% of buyers entering the market due to the stamp duty holiday itself. This is still quite considerable when you consider there are around one million transactions completed a year and so a 25% boost translates to hundreds of thousands of additional sales.
“Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and it looks unlikely that we will see an extension beyond the original March deadline.
“With the clock ticking, those yet to complete due to current market delays will be forgiven if an air of panic is starting to set in, having had an offer accepted well in advance of the deadline.
“Perhaps a fair alternative to an extension would be to allow those who have an offer formally accepted prior to the end of March to also qualify for stamp duty relief.”
TV property personality issued a stark warning to chancellor Rishi Sunak this week that the housing market faces “bedlam” if the stamp duty deadline is not extended beyond 31 March.
Speaking on The Graham Norton Radio Show on Virgin Radio, the presenter of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location said: “I think chaos would ensue if the stamp duty holiday did end on a specific date, because everybody would be working towards that day.
“It’s great to keep people motivated towards that day but actually, if they haven’t completed their deals on that date, the chances are that deals will be collapsing left right and centre, it will just be bedlam.”
He added: “The market is surprisingly busy and surprisingly buoyant.
“And given the housing market is generally driven by sentiment, I would have thought it should be dragging along the floor at the moment.
“But there’s an awful lot of people trying to do an awful lot of deals just at the moment.”