A national newspaper is today launching a campaign for the stamp duty holiday to be extended.
The Daily Telegraph says its campaign - called Stamp Out The Duty - is inspired because it fears hundreds of thousands of buyers risk losing out on the current holiday as transactions slow because of the lockdown.
It says it wants to help buyers about to be “caught out” by a transaction process that now takes an average of 20 weeks compared with just 12 weeks a year ago.
The Telegraph - which is considered a strong influence on the current government, and where Prime Minister Boris Johnson used to work - is “calling on the Treasury to avoid penalising thousands of homebuyers at a time when mortgage lenders are already demanding vast deposits and household finances have been battered by the pandemic.”
Indeed the newspaper suggests Chancellor Rishi Sunak should consider scrapping SDLT on homes completely. In an editorial highlighting the campaign it says: “The stamp duty holiday announced by the Chancellor in July has been a remarkable showcase of the power of tax cuts to stimulate economic activity.”
The Telegraph warns some 325,000 buyers are mired in delays created or exacerbated by the Coronavirus crisis.
TV property commentator Phil Spencer, Zoopla, Hunters and the Conveyancers’ Association are all quoted in the campaign launch article, now available on the Telegraph website.
Separately, mortgage broker Enness Global says this morning that a survey of 1,000 current buyers shows 48 per cent are worried that their sale won’t complete before March 31, and 67 per cent would like to see the deadline extended.
The broker says those buyers yet to complete due to Coronavirus delays may be panicking, having had an offer accepted well in advance of the deadline.
It adds: “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.”
An online petition calling for an extension - first put online in October - is continuing to draw significant numbers of signatures.
It’s now approaching 73,000 - if it gets to 100,000 the government will be obliged to consider holding a debate on the subject.