Government Urged to Backdate Stamp Duty Cut Scheme

8 July 2020

Plans to immediately cut Stamp Duty costs on the first £500,000 of a property in a move that will save the average house buyer £4,500 have today been ‘cautiously welcomed’ by Conveyancing experts.

Remaining in place until March 31st, the announcement comes as part of a post-Coronavirus budget which includes a series of initiatives to help the economy recover, with the UK Government suggesting that the high threshold will mean that an impressive 9 out of 10 people will pay no stamp duty at all.

However, while Conveyancers have said the plans would come as a ‘welcome relief’ to those who are in the process of purchasing, it would be a ‘bitter blow’ for hundreds who had already finalised proceedings since the start of lockdown in March.

Sarah Ryan, Head of Conveyancing at law firm Simpson Millar, said it was most likely to affect new build buyers and those who had been on the cusp of completion at the start of the pandemic.  

She went on to urge the Government to make the savings retrospective in order to allow the costs to be recovered by ‘potentially hundreds of people’, many of whom may be facing money worries as a result of the crisis.

She said, “We of course welcome the plans announced today to freeze the Stamp Duty costs on any property up to the value of £500,000 which will not only encourage potential buyers to move on and up the proverbial ladder, but will also help to retain jobs in the real estate sector.

“However, there is no denying that for some, in particular those individuals, couples and families who have managed to complete on the purchase of their home either during lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath, this will come as a bitter blow.

“This is most likely to affect those who have bought a new build property as many of those transactions could go ahead despite social distancing, as well as those who were all ready to finalise proceedings once the rules relaxed last month.

“We would urge the Government to make the scheme retrospective so that those individuals can also benefit from the cost savings.”

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