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How to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline

The stamp duty holiday deadline is fast approaching, and time is running out for buyers and sellers alike to complete before the tax is reintroduced. Here our Legal Manager Linda Hopkins explains how you can be sure to beat the 31st March deadline.

In July last year, as a result of the first Covid-19 lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak temporarily increased the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for many property purchases in England and Northern Ireland until 31st March 2021. This was to provide support to buyers who took a financial hit because of the pandemic and help them complete their purchase.

All current indicators from the government suggest that there will not be an extension to this deadline. For many, including my colleagues in estate agency, as well as solicitors and conveyancers, meeting this deadline and completing on a great number of property transactions will simply not be possible.

However, this is where auctions come into their own. When you buy a property at auction, you have a fixed completion date from the outset, meaning you can beat the deadline if you buy with us in February.

With an auction purchase, once the hammer falls contracts are exchanged and the completion date is legally set. This is typically 20 working days following the date of the auction, unless otherwise specified within the legal pack – if you’re not sure when you’ll complete, check with your solicitor.

Without stamp duty to pay on many purchases up to £500,000, this opens up more opportunities for you in terms of the property you purchase and avenues to explore once you have the keys in hand. Maybe you’ll factor in the absence of stamp duty when bidding and be able to go that little bit further to secure the property you’re looking at. You might also use the savings to upgrade the kitchen or bathroom, or maybe buy a new range of appliances for the property instead? What you do with your budget wriggle room is up to you – but the only way to make sure you can beat the stamp duty deadline is to buy this month.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not the 31st March deadline will be extended however official word from the Treasury is that it won’t be, with £3.8bn having been spent already. However, there is a definite appetite, both in the industry and between MPs that there could be a new, phased deadline to help purchases complete without the threat of a cliff-edge.

It’s likely we won’t know of any extension until March’s budget though, so to secure a purchase and complete prior to the deadline, February may be your best and only chance.

If you’re interested in buying this February and beating the deadline, register to bid here. It’s quick, simple and free, with no obligation to bid on the day.