The chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced the up-to-£500,000 “nil-rate band” for stamp duty will finish at the end of June, rather than the end of March, as planned.
He says first-time buyers will get a “government guarantee” on mortgages, with a deposit of 5%. Many big lenders are already backing the scheme, he added.
David Westgate, group chief executive, Andrews Property Group, comments: “As expected, the Stamp Duty holiday has been extended, but the Government has missed a gilt-edged opportunity to put in place measures to avoid another cliff-edge scenario in three month’s time.
“Reducing the nil band rate from £500k to £250k, while a better solution than simply cutting off the tax break on 30th June, could still result in a stampede of buyers rushing to complete before the deadline.
“A better solution, surely, would have been to allow transactions, where a mortgage offer has been granted before the deadline, to complete at their own pace.
“This would have avoided buyers dropping out of a transaction that’s in progress because they aren’t able to complete before the deadline.
“It would also have given conveyancers the time and breathing space to work their way through the backlog of cases piling up on their desks, which are only likely to increase after today’s announcement.”