A report in the Times this morning has said that the stamp duty holiday will be extended by three months to the end of the June, which is very good news for anyone in the process of buying a house at the moment who may have been panicking about the end of March deadline.
It has previously been reported that ministers were going to agree to a six-week extension for those who are already in the process of buying a house, but many mortgage lenders said that this would not be long enough to stop sales from falling through, which could be potentially disastrous for anyone buying as part of a chain.
According to the report, the extension will only be for those who are already in the process of buying a house, or who have received a mortgage offer by a particular date, which seems a fair way of easing out of the situation without causing further problems, although the government doesn’t seem to have anticipated any of this when it first initiated the scheme.
Although the extension has been reported today, it has not actually been formally announced, but it is expected that chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver a formal statement on the situation as part of his budget next Wednesday (3rd March).
“This policy has been critical in keeping the housing market moving through the pandemic but I would urge the government to restrict this extension to buyers already in the conveyancing process – so those who have had their offer accepted and appointed a solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work.
“This gives buyers who began their homebuying journey in good time but have been subject to delays, a new window to complete.
“While the holiday has been helpful for second steppers and those higher up the ladder, it has also caused prices to rise dramatically over the last year at the expense of first-time buyers.
“They have faced greater competition for homes, price increases and a restricted mortgage market – which led to a 12% fall in the proportion of first-time buyers in the market in the second half of 2020.
“Encouraging a new rush of buyers into the market could once again have a detrimental effect on first-time buyer share which has recovered strongly since the start of the year, back up to 58% of transactions from a low of 46% last September.”
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