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Your June market update: Deadlines and delays, but the market stays strong

There are more and more headlines about record prices, but we look beyond the headlines to see what the stamp duty deadline and delays mean for buyers and sellers.

Our monthly update is here to help you stay up to date on all of the latest news. It’s been another hot month on the property market — and you’re probably getting sick of hearing about record prices every single month. But June marks the end of the stamp duty holiday (or at least, the first end of it) and there are a lot of sales trying to get through the pipeline.

While prices stay high, we want to look at what buying and selling really look like this month. Will the first deadline put off potential buyers? How long does it take to get through the conveyancing process with record demand? We've got you covered. Plus, we'll look at the Help to Buy fine print you should keep an eye out for. Welcome to your June monthly update.

The first stamp duty holiday deadline isn’t slowing down buyers

When the stamp duty holiday was extended, the government decided to have a tapered ending — some of the savings would reduce at the end of June, while the holiday would stop completely at the end of September. So completing by the end of this month is your last chance to pay no stamp duty whatsoever on the first £500,000 of your purchase price.

But because of the increased demand, there’s a big backlog of homes stuck in the conveyancing pipeline — in other words, completing may be taking a lot longer than people hoped.

According to the latest Rightmove data, over 700,000 homes are marked Sold Subject to Contract — which is 78% higher than in May 2019. In fact, it’s the highest rate in the last 10 years. 

And because of delays, not everyone may make the deadline (and the savings) that they hoped. But interestingly, only 4% of buyers have said they would stop the sale if they didn’t make the deadline — though 25% said that they would try to negotiate the price and 13% said they would look for a cheaper home, according to Rightmove. They also said that the current average time from an agreed sale to completion is 4 months, so if you’re looking to buy or sell then you’ll want to budget plenty of time. 

With high demand, the current average time from sale agreed to completion is 4 months — so if you’re looking to buy or sell then you’ll want to budget plenty of time. "

Help to Buy deadlines you need to look out for

The newly revamped Help to Buy scheme launched just a couple of months ago, but there are already signs of teething problems. The new Help to Buy focused on first-time buyers and capped the property price based on prices in that region. But there have been reports that completion dates are scuppering plans — with some not realising their new build wouldn’t be finished until after the loan completion deadline.

“When we made our offer the developer, Miller Homes, referred us to a broker, New Homes Advice, to check we were eligible to apply for a help-to-buy loan and we were told that we were,” Sam Walker told the Guardian.

“We paid £500 deposit for the plot and were told to find a mortgage and a solicitor within four weeks. Five weeks later, after we had customised the interior online, Miller Homes said we couldn’t have the house after all because of the 31 December deadline.”

Previously, homes had to be completed within 9 months of the loan being agreed — so Walker would have qualified. It's not clear how many people will be affected, but it's good to stay aware of complications that can arise with new builds (especially as delays aren't uncommon). If you’re looking to use Help to Buy, make sure to do your research.

The market is still going strong — but all of this demand means it's not smooth sailing out there for everyone. Giving yourself plenty of room — in your budget and in your timelines — is the best way to keep the stress down. And if you're hoping to take advantage of a hot market, it shows no sign of slowing down.