Following Boris Johnson’s speech last night, in which he imposed a third national lockdown, mortgage experts are predicting an extension to the stamp duty deadline.
David Hannah, founder and principal consultant of Cornerstone Tax, said: “It is critical that the government reviews this stamp duty holiday, and either announces an extension or amends the tax payment date so that homebuyers can still take advantage of the holiday even if they cannot complete by 31st March. The most preferable option would be a phasing out of the holiday, to avoid those who are currently in the process of purchasing their properties, essentially being thrown off a cliff-edge.
“Especially now that the country is being plunged back into another full lockdown, more must be done to help people get on the property ladder and give the market some security in what will be a very turbulent few months.
“Government-backed purchase mortgage guarantees for borrowers would be a great way to reinstall confidence in the lending market. If the term of these guarantees were for five years, for example, the inflation of the housing market during the medium term would wipe off any negative equity on those properties.”
Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, commented: “Though the property market remains technically open, there will now be considerably more logistical issues for the simple reason that a lot of people will be working from home.
“Lenders, valuers and conveyancers are already experiencing bottlenecks and delays given the sheer amount of applications going through and the administrative upheaval caused by the latest lockdown will only serve to accentuate them.
“We would not be surprised if the Treasury makes an announcement this week about extending the stamp duty deadline to keep demand alive and give the property industry some much needed wiggle room.”
George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents, Radstock Property added, “In theory, it’s business as usual for the property market but in practice that’s simply not the case.
“Transactions are already under a lot of time pressure and the new lockdown will compound the issue, as people work from home or fall ill with the new strain.
“Extending the deadline by at least another month to reflect the new national lockdown seems like the right thing to do in the current circumstances and I’m sure it’s on Rishi Sunak’s agenda.
“The property market is providing vital fuel for the economy and the Treasury will want to ensure that continues during the potentially challenging months ahead.
“Extending the stamp duty holiday is a way for the Government to give people something to cheer about when there’s so little to cheer about, as public sentiment and the property market are closely related.”