Will the Stamp Duty holiday be extended?
We do not wish to turn clients away, but we have to ensure that our service standards are upheld and as the deadline gets nearer then saturation point might be reached.
There is a widespread fear among conveyancers that very soon we will have an unprecedented number of purchasers all trying to beat the 31st march deadline at the same time. The nation’s conveyancing industry is simply not geared up to processing transactions in this way and there is a concern that consumers will end up disappointed.
There are many aspects of the conveyancing process that are completely out of the hands of conveyancers. Mortgage companies for instance are struggling to keep up with demand for mortgage offers to be made. It is not unusual for a mortgage offer to take 45 days at the moment and until the offer is made the transaction cannot progress. Local Authorities are also behind with proving property searches, with 10 per cent experiencing a six-week turnaround.
This seems to be a familiar story for most legal practices up and down the country and it has led to calls from solicitors for urgent government action to be taken.
Solicitors and other professionals engaged in the property sector have been actively lobbying for the deadline to be extended. One particularly popular idea is that rather than having a ‘cliff edge’ arrangement, we introduce a system whereby the stamp duty saving tapers over a period of time.
Government ministers have said there are currently no plans to extend the stamp duty deadline or take any other action. They are however monitoring the property market and we would not rule out a further intervention in the coming months.