Stamp Duty holiday warning: Britons must bear a key date in mind to avoid missing out

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Stamp Duty holidays were introduced by the government as a temporary measure to help those affected financially by COVID-19. The policy means Stamp Duty Land Tax, a levy charged when purchasing a property of a certain value, was eliminated for sales in England and Northern Ireland of a particular amount. At present, the first £500,000 of property sales has Stamp Duty suspended.

However, those who are hoping to move and benefit from the current holiday have been warned they will need to take action by a certain date to benefit.

Research undertaken by Legal and General Mortgage Club and shared with has uncovered the amount of time it will take homebuyers to complete on average.

The findings showed homeowners will need to start a home-buying journey by November 1, 2020, or risk potentially missing out.

The survey undertaken by the mortgage club explained Britons who need to sell their home to purchase a new one will need to allow four months for a housing transaction to be completed.

This is as demand for the market continues to surge amid the ongoing crisis, and of course, local lockdowns.

The data analysed by Legal and General Mortgage Club demonstrated it could take up to 15 or 17 weeks for buyers to finish their home-buying journey.

However, this does not take into account the holiday season, nor the impact of a possible lockdown.

For this reason then, it may prove sensible for homeowners to act fast to ensure they benefit from the holiday.

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The November 1 deadline that’s been suggested, therefore, is likely to provide Britons with enough breathing space should any issues arise before completion.

Issues with mortgage applications have been convoluted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

Legal and General Mortgage Club found that before the pandemic, an application with straightforward circumstances took less than two weeks to move mortgage offer.

However, since the reopening of the mortgage market after its temporary freeze, the process has become longer.

Some 30 percent of advisers asked said the process was now taking three to four weeks, and a further 32 percent stating it was taking four to eight weeks.

And those with more complicated circumstances could also find themselves in a bind when looking to move home.

Britons who have been on furlough, or who have an impaired credit history will often have to set aside more time to be approved for a mortgage.

Kevin Roberts, Director of Legal and General Mortgage Club, commented on the findings.

He said: “The government’s stamp duty holiday has helped to encourage many hopeful buyers to press ahead with their homeownership plans, providing a much-needed boost to the economy.

“However, those wishing to take advantage of the holiday will need to plan carefully to avoid missing the March 2021 deadline, particularly if they gave their own property to sell first.

“Buyers should speak to a mortgage adviser when creating a plan as these professionals understand how to navigate the ongoing changes to the mortgage and home buying process.”

However, Mr Roberts also called for action to be taken on both sides of a mortgage deal.

This, he said, would ensure as many Britons as possible can benefit from the deal before the deadline.

He concluded: “As homebuyers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, policy makers need to consider if tapering of the stamp duty deadline is needed instead of a hard deadline.

“We need to avoid those moving or purchasing a home missing out through delays after March 31, when the holiday ends.”

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