Vale & West Chartered Accountants Blog

Conveyancers brace for busy festive period as homebuyers push for move before Stamp Duty holiday deadline

Moving to a new house before the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday ends is now unlikely, the Law Society has warned conveyancers.

With the festive period well underway, experts have suggested that home movers should have “realistic expectations” about completing their property purchase before the 31 March 2021 deadline.

Introduced in July this year, the temporary relief is designed to stimulate market activity by scrapping property tax on almost all properties worth up to £500,000. This means that nine out of 10 homebuyers will not pay any tax at all, with the average purchaser making a saving of £4,500.

However, the final months of the SDLT holiday coincide with the busy festive period and Easter, reducing the possibility to complete a purchase before the deadline, warned Law Society president David Greene.

“It is important that law firms prepare in advance for the avalanche of work that conveyancers are likely to face as the deadline approaches,” he said.

“Firms should manage the expectations of new clients hoping to move before the SDLT holiday ends and support must also be provided to solicitors whose mental health is under strain as they work long, unsociable hours.”

The Legal & General Mortgage Club also warned in November that legal obstacles and unforeseen events could risk completion times falling outside the relief period, with the average process taking between 15 to 17 weeks from start to finish.

Commenting on the deadline, Kevin Roberts, director at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “As homebuyers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, policymakers need to consider if a tapering of the stamp duty deadline is needed instead of a hard deadline.

“We need to avoid those moving or purchasing a home missing out through delays after March 31 when the holiday ends.”

For help and advice with related tax matters, please get in touch with our expert legal finance team today.

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