Both Labour and Conservative MPs expressed their desire to see an extension of the stamp duty holiday at a debate in parliament on 1 February, but the government has so far given no indication that it will allow either an extension of the discount, or for sales agreed before a certain date to complete with the stamp duty holiday still in place.
While it is widely believed that an extension could prevent thousands of property sales from falling through, the reason for the debate in the House of Commons was due to a petition on the UK government’s website for the current stamp duty holiday to be extended for another six months, until September 2021.
The petition called “Extend the Stamp Duty Holiday for an additional 6 months after 31st March 2021”, had more than 142,000 signatures at the time of writing (when it reaches 100,000 signatures it qualifies to be discussed in parliament). The petition was started at the end of October by an individual who is looking to buy a new property, and has proved to be popular with buyers and sellers, as well as estate agents, conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors.
With less than two months until the stamp duty holiday deadline, Rightmove projects that there are more than 600,000 agreed sales in the pipeline and that around 100,000 will miss out on their stamp duty saving of up to £15,000.
The government recently said that it “does not plan” to extend the temporary relief offered to property buyers via the stamp duty holiday. A spokesperson for HM Treasury said in December: “The SDLT holiday was designed to be a temporary relief to stimulate market activity and support jobs that rely on the property market. The government does not plan to extend this temporary relief.”
However, the chancellor Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure to extend the stamp duty holiday beyond 31 March, amid concerns that thousands of buyers could fail to complete before the deadline.