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Stamp Duty Holiday – Is it too late?


It is perhaps an understatement, but 2020 proved to be interesting in many ways for the property market in the UK.

After the stop-start of the whole property industry, pent-up demand exploded and new buyer enquiries exceeded everyone’s expectations. The introduction of the Stamp Duty holiday added fuel to the fire and the number of sales agreed rose to a volume that exceeded that of 2019.

We are now faced with the cold reality that the Stamp Duty Holiday ends in just under 10 weeks. The savings available to buyers are considerable and many may feel that there is sufficient time to meet the completion deadline of 31st of March.

Issues hitting the Stamp Duty Holiday deadline

Whilst not impossible, COVID-19 has brought us all many new experiences and challenges. The property industry has been materially affected by a number of new events that now means that the average conveyance of a property has been greatly increased.

These new events include a Legal profession that has openly admitted that it cannot cope with the current level of transactions on their books.

The financial services industry is still struggling to come to terms with home working. Their problems are further exaggerated by, in some cases, legacy IT platforms and the demands of their risk procedures.

A surveying industry that is also working at capacity and finally local authorities who are struggling to meet the demands for property searches. Currently, these are taking 2 to 3 weeks longer than we would normally expect.

Please see the link here for some guidance around average search times.

In addition to the above, we are concerned by the possibility of further lockdown measures affecting those who want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. We also know from experience that 7 to 10 days of bad weather can have a negative material effect on the time it takes for a conveyancing transaction to complete.

Our message

As a result of the above, we wanted to make sure that you are aware of the challenges we face together. A collective approach with a clearly communicated goal of moving on or before the 31st March will secure for you, a significant financial saving. This must include your Mortgage broker, your Solicitor, you, your Estate Agent, and any other parties who may be involved in your chain.

If you are already going through a transaction with us and want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, please do speak to us about your deadlines and possibly other options if issues arise. We will reconfirm your target move date and agree with you on what needs to be done and by when to achieve this goal.

We will outline whether conveyancers are able to offer you specialist services such as private searches. Also, it is massively important that you return your conveyancers’ paperwork within 24 hours of receipt.

We ultimately cannot facilitate the legal transaction, as that is your Conveyancer’s role. We can however be very pro-active together to move the process forward.

We would not be surprised if the Treasury makes an announcement in the coming weeks about extending the Stamp Duty holiday deadline to give the property industry some much-needed wiggle room, but there is no guarantee of this.

Our advice to anyone putting an offer or application in now is to be prepared to have that additional stamp duty payment just in case, the details are here, and instruct your solicitors to start their work as early as possible, especially in applying for the local searches. Vendors meanwhile, may need to prepare to do some last-minute negotiations.

All the costs you have paid will be non-refundable should you not be able to pay for the total Stamp Duty to complete your purchase for the reasons above.

For Coreco, it is all about working together, and rest assured we will be doing all we can to assist and smooth the process for you.

If you have any immediate questions please feel free to contact your broker, sales support, or one of our customer services team on 020 7220 5110 or contact us here.

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Andrew Montlake

Written by Andrew Montlake

Andrew Montlake, better known as Monty, began his journey with an Hons degree in Economics & Politics before starting in the mortgage industry in February 1994. As a main founder of Coreco in 2009, he successfully grew the brand, marketing, and communications, and was made MD in 2019 focussing on the overall vision, strategy, and culture of the company. As Coreco’s media spokesperson, Andrew can often be seen or heard on TV and radio as well as regularly commenting in the national, local, and trade press. He is the author of this acclaimed Mortgage Blog and is well-known for his social media, podcasts, and public speaking. Andrew is now proud to serve as Chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, (AMI) as a cheerleader for the Mortgage Industry as a whole and continues to work at the coal face, writing mortgage business and advising clients.

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