A petition calling for a stamp duty holiday extension has hit 100,000 signatures, as the government faces growing pressure to extend the tax break.
The stamp duty holiday exempts the first £500,000 of all property sales from stamp duty until 31 March 2021. It was widely praised upon its introduction by chancellor Rishi Sunak in July 2020 for helping more people get onto the property ladder, and for its potential to help those considering renovating a house, who can reinvest the savings made into their project.
But there is concern that the soaring demand to make the most of the tax break has caused delays, meaning some deals won’t get over the line in time. Around 325,000 people could miss out on savings up to £15,000, according to data company TwentyCi.
The Treasury and housing minister Christopher Pincher have confirmed that the stamp duty holiday will not be extended. But resistance is growing.
Signatures Pile up on Stamp Duty Holiday Extension Petition
The petition calling for the government to extend the tax break until September 2021 has now reached 100,000 votes, up from 22,000 in December.
The petition was started by Jonathan Steel, who explains on the petition page that he is due to move into a new home in March 2021, but if the build is delayed then he will not be able to afford the house because the stamp duty will be too high.
“Extending the stamp duty holiday for an additional six months will assist many buyers who are looking to move to a property that they will not be able to afford otherwise,” he says.
After the petition hit the threshold of 10,000 and prompted a government response, the Treasury said: “The SDLT holiday was designed to be a temporary relief to stimulate market activity and support jobs that rely on the property market."
Having reached 100,000 signatures, there will now be a debate in parliament about whether to extend the stamp duty holiday.
Lockdown Means Delays Could Escalate
There was already massive demand to make the most of the tax break prior to lockdown, with more than 536,000 sales agreed progressing to completion.
As such, logistical delays had been escalating, with the average transaction taking 20 weeks to complete, up from 12 weeks before the pandemic started.
Although the housing market will remain open during lockdown, experts fear that new pressures could further increase delays. Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters estate agents, said: “The current lockdown has only added to this bottleneck. I would implore the Treasury to consider an extension.”
Beth Rudolf, of the Conveyancing Association trade body, added: “If they don’t extend the deadline, hundreds of thousands of sales will fail to complete. The property market will literally drop off.”
TV property expert Phil Spencer, speaking on The Graham Norton Radio Show on Virgin Radio, warned: “There is a big tsunami of deals building up. If the chancellor really does stop the stamp duty holiday I just think chaos will ensue.
“People will try and renegotiate up and down chains, and it only takes one person in the chain for four or five sales to fall through. The whole thing will come to a crashing halt and deals will fall off the shelf left, right, and centre."
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