Stamp Duty holiday: Britons have just 20 days to act if they wish to benefit – this is why

Stamp Duty is a levy, formally known as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and is payable on property purchased over a certain value in England and Northern Ireland. Currently, the SDLT threshold stands at £500,000, and offers an important tax break for those moving home. However, while the government has offered relief on paying the tax, this is only temporary.

Emma Harvey, director of mortgages at MoneySuperMarket, commented on the matter.

She said: “As it stands, the stamp duty holiday scheme is due to come to an end on March 31, meaning prospective homebuyers have just 20 days to find a property and apply for a mortgage in order to complete within the average 123 days it typically takes to purchase a home.

“During this second lockdown, estate agents and lenders have adapted quickly to ensure the housing market doesn’t stand still.

“Viewings are still going ahead with measures in place, while lenders are also continuing to work hard to get sales through.”

While the stamp duty holiday has undoubtedly attracted many, it has also put a strain on the property market.

With this difficult time economically, Ms Harvey drew attention to what the government could do next.

She added: “It’s clear that many would like to see the scheme extended.

“We believe the government needs to put in place longer term support for the housing market.

“We believe the government needs to put in place longer term support for the housing market.

“While the stamp duty holiday has brought buyers to the market and lenders have never been busier, challenges still exist for those seeking to buy their first home – not least with regards to the availability of appropriate mortgages.

“This is why the government is proposing new measures to increase the availability of mortgages for those with a five percent deposit, and we look forward to seeing these proposals in greater detail.”

For those looking to move home, Ms Harvey said there are a number of points worth bearing in mind. 

Firstly, she stated, the higher a deposit value for a property, the better position a person is likely to be in.

This is because larger deposits will bring down a loan-to-value ratio, and may provide access to lower interest rates with lenders.

For those who have been able to put away any extra money this year, putting it towards a house deposit is likely to be wise. 

But, understandably, this remains a financially volatile time for many people, as the effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt.

This is also vital to bear in mind, Ms Harvey added.

She concluded: “Should you have a change to your circumstances, including starting a new job or unexpected unemployment during the completion on a property, it is important to be honest with your lender, and inform them of what has happened, so they can provide the correct support.”

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