Hundreds of thousands of buyers stand to miss out on the stamp duty saving as overwhelmed conveyancing, lending and search services grind to a halt. It has been estimated that more than 300,000 sales agreed between September 2020 and January 2021 could miss the March 31 deadline, costing them up to £15,000 each.
The threshold for paying stamp duty has been raised from £125,000 to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland with similar cuts in Scotland and Wales. The tax cut has led to a 53 per cent surge in sales agreed this summer, while exchanges have fallen by 40 per cent compared with last year (see table) as services failed to cope with the surge in demand.
Ashley Thomas, director at Magni Finance, a broker, says: “As we get nearer the deadline, we might see more people applying for bridging loans, which can be processed in a matter of days.” However, he warns: “They do charge a premium — so are best used for only a short time while waiting for a house sale or a mortgage to come through.”
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