The Chancellor’s rumoured six week extension to the stamp duty holiday has been backed by Rightmove.
Over last weekend the Daily Telegraph, quoting an unnamed government source, said Rishi Sunak may extend the March 31 deadline by six weeks to mid-May, to avoid tens of thousands of fall throughs and a so-called “completion trap.”
Now Rightmove’s data chief Tim Bannister backs the move, saying: “We know the stamp duty holiday was intended as a temporary stimulus for the market, but the delays we’ve seen in the home-moving process have been through no fault of the buyers and sellers who agreed a sale last year and who are now desperately trying to get their deals over the line.
“The delays have been a result of the huge number trying to go through, along with the many challenges of the people involved in the process working from home. If there was a six week extension it should give the majority of the sales from last year the chance to complete in time.”
Rightmove estimates that if true, the extension would mean 120,000 to 160,000 additional property transactions in England could benefit from the tax saving. If 160,000 transactions made it through, buyers could save a huge £1 billion in total.
The projection is based on the number of property transactions that completed each month in England between September and December last year, according to data from HMRC.
The extension would also mean the vast majority of salesagreed by the end of 2020 would complete in time to save on stamp duty. There are an estimated 412,000 sales still currently in the legal process that were agreed last year across Great Britain.
Currently, Rightmove estimates that 100,000 buyers who agreed a purchase last year are set to lose out, if the deadline stays at March 31.
A statement from the portal says: “Due to the nature of the conveyancing process there will be edge cases still unable to complete in time, but [a six week extension] would come as a welcome relief to many of those desperately trying to get their purchase through the logjam.”