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Should stamp duty holiday extension be for ALL buyers, or just current ones?

No fewer than 79 per cent of people want the stamp duty holiday extended according to a survey conducted by an estate agency.

But controversially Ascend Property’s analysis also shows 51 per cent of people want the extension to cover the whole market - not just those currently involved in a purchase. 

Only 28 per cent think the extension should be restricted to delayed sales which have had their offers accepted prior to the March deadline.

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And overall, 71 per cent would like to see the duty scrapped permanently.

Whilst many recent surveys have shown support for an extension and opposition to the principle of stamp duty, this is one of the first such polls to indicate a majority believing any extension should apply to the whole market, and not just current buyers.

As it stands the stamp duty holiday is scheduled to end at a cliff edge on March 31, although The Times has reported an unnamed government source saying it would be extended until the end of June - with no details of whether this means a tapered end or simply the same cliff edge at a later date.

Separately, mortgage brokers have voted three to one in favour of an extension to the holiday, although a study by Twenty7Tec that ran in parallel suggests there have been significant regional differences in terms of the holiday's impact. Nonetheless, Twenty7Tec says the holiday has driven a 44 per cent rise in mortgage searches

The Ascend and Twenty7Tec surveys come after an intervention into the debate from leading legal bodies.

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Bold Legal Group and the Conveyancing Association, have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak proposing an alternative to a cliff edge end, either on March 31 as scheduled or at a later date.

“The proposed approach is simple” says a statement from the bodies. “Allow any transaction on which a conveyancing lawyer has been formally instructed by a buyer before February 28 2021 to qualify for the exemption provided the property purchase completes within 12 months.”

Simon Law, SLC chairperson, says: “Restoring the property market to a sense of normality has to be the priority as we emerge from the effects of the Covid pandemic restrictions. 

“The SDLT holiday has had the effect of injecting an unsustainable stimulus into the market. Bringing it to an end with a ‘cliff edge’ expiry date will result in a postcode lottery worth several thousand pounds to some and not others, and has already created considerable stress on buyers, lawyers, lenders, search companies and local authorities amongst others.”

He continues: “The solution that we have proposed alongside the BLG and Conveyancing Association is simple and will have the effect of immediately delivering a calming effect, allowing natural market forces to resume in the property market. The postcode lottery would be removed, and transactions would follow their normal path to completion without an artificial time constraint.”

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