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Call for stamp duty holiday extension

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Calling for a six-month extension to the current stamp duty holiday, property industry leaders have warned there is insufficient capacity to deal with the surge in house sales in time to meet the current 31 March deadline.

In all, 14 property industry organisations, including those representing agents, mortgage lenders and intermediaries, conveyancers and property portals have signed an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for the extension.

Urgent action is needed, said the group.

Properties were still being marketed on the expectation of stamp duty savings being achieved when ‘in reality they may be too late’.

By acting now, the Government could release the pressure in the system to allow transactions to complete and ‘avoid a disorderly and distressing period for movers and businesses throughout the market’, said the group. ‘Any extension or gradual phasing of the Stamp Duty Land Tax would also help mitigate sharp reductions in consumer demand’.

The joint letter was ‘an important step in protecting those in the process of buying or selling a house that might miss out on the 31 March stamp duty deadline, said NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward, a signatory to the letter.

Increased pressure on service providers within the industry were causing delays for buyers and sellers, he said.

‘The boom, caused by the stamp duty holiday, has been hugely beneficial for the housing market. ‘However, the stamp duty cliff edge on the 31 March could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a knock on and drastic effect on the housing market which has recovered well from the Covid slump.

‘We are calling on Government to rethink these timings, so pressure on the system can be released to allow transactions to complete and avoid a disorderly and distressing period for movers and businesses throughout the market’.