Property expert Phil Spencer is warning that “chaos” and “mayhem” looms in the housing market if the stamp duty holiday is not extended.
Speaking to Graham Norton on Virgin Radio he 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.”
This is not the first warning on the subject from the Location Location Location presenter.
Just before Christmas he tweeted: “The stamp duty holiday has been successful in activating the market. Ending on a cliff edge will create utter chaos! Surely it can be phased out? Timescales on deals slip more often than they don’t. The motivation behind people moving could disappear in a single day. Utter madness!"
The call for some sort of tapered extension to the current March 30 deadline has grown in recent weeks, heightened by the current lockdown forcing many in the transaction process to work from home.
An online petition calling for an extension - first put online in October - has moved from around 30,000 signatures to well over 54,000 in the past fortnight.
Spencer continued telling Norton: “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.”
Meanwhile Spencer’s TV presenter partner Kirstie Allsopp, on the same Virgin Radio programme, said she was sceptical of the growing reliance on virtual tours and internet listings, especially during the Coronavirus crisis.
“I think house hunting on the internet is overrated. You can achieve a lot in terms of finding out about the local area. You've got the brilliant aerial shots, but it's a very physical auditory, nose, see, smell, taste, touch type thing” she told Norton.
“I think there's been a bit of people thinking that they've seen something when they've seen it over the Internet and that's not seeing something.”
You can hear the show here.