SDLT deadline gives rise for concern

There was great disappointment across the property industry last week when Chancellor Rishi Sunak stopped short of extending the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), despite growing calls from the industry to extend it or at least taper it off. Due to the backlog of work from the first lockdown and subsequent boom, the average property transaction is taking 20 weeks to complete, up from 12 weeks on average. Conveyancers are concerned some transactions may not complete before the 31st March deadline, leaving thousands of homeowners with an unexpected SDLT bill and in further debt. Today’s Conveyancer goes on to report that nearly two million homebuyers have already had to arrange additional finance to cover the extra costs of SDLT. HMRC figures indicate around 105,630 transactions in October made it the busiest of Octobers in the last ten years and up by almost 10% on September transactions. Lloyd Davies, Operations Director of the Conveyancing Association said “…We at the CA have been involved in discussions with Treasury around the current situation, the likelihood of large numbers of transactions not completing before the deadline, and what this might mean for the overall housing market. Plus, no-one wants a cliff-edge situation should the holiday come to an abrupt end on the 31st March next year. There are strong arguments to be made for an extension, not least the overall benefit a healthy and buoyant housing market can deliver for UK plc…” Find the article here.