Majority of brokers want SDLT extension but many argue for ‘return to normal’

Majority of brokers want SDLT extension but many argue for ‘return to normal’

 

This illustrates a split in broker opinion, with many clearly appreciative of the boost to the market but also concerned by the chaos caused to third-party parts of the chain like conveyancers and valuers or concerned by the inflated prices buyers are paying.

In a boost to the housing market, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) lifted the threshold for stamp duty liability to £500,000 on 8 July 2020, due to end in March, but then extended the deadline to 30 June.

From the 1 July, the nil-rate threshold drops down to £250,000 and first-time buyer relief resumes. First-time buyers do not have to pay any stamp duty on the first £300,000 of their property purchase. On the portion of their house price between £300,000 and £500,000 they must pay 5 per cent. On the 1 October, the stamp duty holiday ends entirely and the nil-rate threshold reverts to £125,000.

Niki Cooke, head of intermediaries at Twenty7Tec, said: “Beyond the headline statistics, there’s a real split in brokers’ opinion about whether to extend and why. Was the tax relief programme a success? Well it definitely kept the market moving in what were challenging circumstances. But brokers are now asking the biggest of questions: ‘Should we have stamp duty tax at all for average priced houses?’ and ‘How do we make sure that we treat people fairly who would otherwise miss the June 30 deadline?”

In answer to the question, “If you were offered a three-month extension to the stamp duty holiday, would you take it?”, brokers said:

Absolutely 49 per cent
Definitely not 14 per cent
Neutral 12 per cent
Probably 9 per cent
Probably not 16 per cent

Brokers in the yes camp argued the move would relieve pressure on solicitors, free up the backlog in removals firms and keep a buoyant homebuying market going. However, several suggested only pipeline cases should be extended within a concrete timeframe.

One broker said: “Stamp duty needs urgent reform anyway, [so] removal below £500k is a good start. Clients are battling to complete before the stamp duty with lenders flooded and unable to help.”

Another said: “Solicitors are taking so long to address the legal work, with so many still working remotely in their own timeframes.”

In the ‘no’ camp, a broker said: “There needs to be a normal house buying situation again. The stamp duty holiday has been great to stimulate the housing market again, but has also caused chaos with local searches taking months to come back and solicitors unable to cope with business levels.”