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Will the stamp duty holiday be extended?

It's due to end on March 31, but will the stamp duty holiday be extended? We'll talk you through what we know so far.

When the stamp duty holiday was announced, it felt like a huge opportunity — from July 8 of this year until March 31, 2021, there would be no stamp duty tax to pay on the first £500,000 of most properties. But now that 2021 is in sight (and right in the middle of another national lockdown), March 31 is feeling very close. In fact, it’s feeling too soon for a lot of people to take advantage of it. So a lot of people are asking: Will the stamp duty holiday be extended? 

The truth is, we don’t know yet. Though there is certainly a demand for extending the stamp duty holiday, we haven’t gotten anything definitive from the government. And there are also a few questions about how the stamp duty holiday should be extended — should it be for all purchases or just the ones that have already started? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start by talking about why so many people want a stamp duty holiday extension. 

Why do people want a stamp duty holiday extension?

As we said, March 31 felt like a very long time away when the stamp duty holiday was first announced. But really, because you have to complete the purchase by that date, you’d most likely need to get a contract signed this year (if not already) to get the full benefit. 

But there are a couple of factors that complicate this. Firstly, because the country was in a national lockdown, there was a huge pent up demand — and the market was then flooded with buyers. This meant it could be difficult to secure a mortgage, especially for first time buyers, and long delays for some people when it came to things like surveying and conveyancing. The market has been so busy that a lot of people are struggling to keep sales moving along.

Secondly, some people point out that we’re in a second national lockdown, one that falls in the middle of the stamp duty holiday. Although you can still buy and sell property, even during the lockdown, the lockdown may be a barrier to homes sales for some people. And others may not feel comfortable moving until the lockdown has ended.

The demands for a longer stamp holiday have been so high that a group of property professionals wrote to the Chancellor asking for it to be extended. The government has said they have no plans to extend the stamp duty holiday, but some industry professionals remain hopeful — especially as the government has U-turned around Covid-19 measures before.

The government have said they have no plans to extend the stamp duty holiday, but some industry professionals remain hopeful."

Would the stamp duty holiday be extended for everyone?

Although there aren’t any plans for the stamp duty holiday to be extended, many have pointed out that there are currently a lot of sales stuck in the pipeline — 140,000 sales, according to Zoopla. This has led to some wondering whether the stamp duty holiday should be extended for those stuck in active chains or in the middle of the buying process. But others argue that there has to be a cut off somewhere, which will always lead to people missing out — and extending the deadline is just pushing back the same problem. 

When it comes to the stamp duty holiday, there’s no definitive answer — at least not yet. There’s a big demand to extend it, but the government seems stubborn (though they’ve seemed stubborn before and changed their minds). The truth is, things change quickly with Covid-19, so we’re going to have to wait and see.

And remember, moving is personal and there are other factors to consider. You may spend more on rent than you would save on the stamp duty holiday. You may find that there's a huge demand in the area you want to buy in, so you'd rather wait out the competition. You may found your home is bursting at the seams and be desperate to move. You may not be in a rush. Ultimately, it's about you.

Want more information on how the stamp duty holiday works? We’ve got you covered.