The Chancellor is considering extending the stamp duty holiday for a short period according to a newspaper report this morning.
The Daily Telegraph, quoting an unnamed government source, says Rishi Sunak may extend the March 31 deadline by six weeks to mid-May, to avoid tens of thousands of fall throughs and what it calls a “completion trap.”
“It is certainly the case that a lot of people would be caught in the completion trap if the holiday were to end when it is due to” the source tells the Telegraph.
There is no mention of what would happen to buyers whose transactions are now underway but may not complete even by mid-May.
Sunak has apparently dismissed calls for a longer, six month extension because of the damage that would do to tax receipts at a time when the government is seeking to recoup lost income.
Officially the government does not make fiscal announcements outside of major events such as the Budget, scheduled for March 3.
However, the Telegraph is closely aligned with government thinking and has given advance information on new policies in the recent past. The paper has also mounted a strident campaign in recent weeks in favour of an extension to the stamp duty holiday.
The government yesterday confirmed that another March 31 deadline - for buyers using the current Help to Buy equity loan scheme in England - would be extended.
Homes England, the government body presiding over the scheme, announced it would extend the deadline until May 31 for new build completion and purchase, to give buyers and house builders more time.
This is the third extension to this scheme’s proposed closure.