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Stamp duty holiday deadline extension Rishi Sunak under pressure to avoid completion chaos on March 31

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Wed 27 Jan 2021

Stamp duty holiday deadline extension Rishi Sunak under pressure to avoid completion chaos on March 31

Rishi Sunak is coming under pressure to relax the stamp duty holiday deadline to avoid a stressful house moving “completion chaos” frenzy in the run-up to March 31.

Transactions must have reached completion by the cut-off date to qualify for relief worth up to £15,000.

Agents claim this is adding unnecessary anxiety to buyers and sellers and say deals should qualify for the stamp duty waiver so long as contracts have been exchanged.

Then the completion of the sales can be arranged at leisure without the pressure of the deadline.

Can you still buy a home before the stamp duty tax holiday deadline?

The Chancellor, inset, announced in his summer statement that stamp duty would be waived on the first £500,000 of all transactions to help keep the property market moving during Covid.

The temporary window has triggered a surge in interest that has pushed London house prices up by almost 10 per cent over the past year.

Andy Shepherd, chief executive of agency Dexters, said: “It can’t be right to have house movers and their removal vans queuing up in March trying to beat the deadline.

“It is essential that the Chancellor looks at this carefully and considers property buyers’ wellbeing.”

The firm has 5,000 sellers and buyers who have agreed to move before the end of March and more than 100,000 buyers who are trying to find a home by the deadline.

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The Treasury should give homes either on the market or under offer as of January 1 a further six months to complete and effectively phase out the stamp duty holiday.”

Guy Gittins, managing director of Chestertons, added: “Having thousands of people completing purchases on the same day... has the potential to cause absolute mayhem.”

Natalie Moore, founder of legal website Aconveyancing, said firms were taking on too much work, risking broken chains on the day of completion.

The situation is likely to be made even more intense by the deadline falling just before the Easter long weekend.