House prices: Almost 100,000 sales ‘will miss stamp duty deadline’ as new home prices drop

The property market experienced a surge last year, and while January usually sets the tone for the rest of the year, the stamp duty holiday and current national lockdown make the property market’s outlook less predictable than previous years. The stamp duty holiday, which began in July last year, is due to come to an end on March 31. The tax holiday has pushed buyers to purchase property and has kept the housing market afloat during a financially challenging year.

According to Rightmove’s analysis, around 100,000 house sales already agreed will miss the deadline to make stamp duty savings.

The average property transaction is now taking just over four months on average from an offer being accepted to a property being completed, according to the site.

The odds are now stacked against buyers who are still hoping to put in an offer in the coming days and beat the March deadline.

The stamp duty threshold for residential property purchases was temporarily raised to £500,000 in July 2020 – but from April 1 2021 it will revert back to £125,000.

There are separate rules for first-time buyers, who may still get discounts.

“For those who fail to do so, there may be difficulties if they have factored the tax savings into their budget calculations.

“The challenge of processing so many transactions in less than three months is made even tougher by the new lockdown restrictions, COVID-19 sickness and homeschooling further reducing capacity in conveyancing, legal searches and mortgage lending.”

Sales and Lettings Director at Thornley Groves in Manchester, Matthew Smith, said certain areas in Manchester such as Altrincham are “flying” as more people ditch the inner city for outdoor space.

Mr Smith also said he had noticed more “high end” properties being sold at £500,000 or over compared with 12 to 18 months ago.

The property expert said he thought it was because people are “outgrowing” their homes.

He said: “Many home-movers are financially motivated, so the stamp duty holiday has definitely been a sweetener to kick people into action. Savings of up to £15,000 aren’t to be sniffed at, but I don’t think the high levels of activity we’re currently seeing are exclusively due to the tax holiday.

“It’s simply given people the impetus to be alert to moving home, which in turn has led to more demand.”

Managing Partner Sue Macey of Lodestone Property in Bruton, Wells and Shaftesbury, said the region was “one of the few” where asking prices have continued to surge.

She added: “For months now we’ve been offering prospective buyers the chance to view properties online, including live video tours hosted by our vendors.

“It’s a great way for interested buyers to ask questions and look at the property as if they were walking around in person and it’s proven to be a big hit.”

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