UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to extend the stamp duty holiday on house purchases for another three months, according to reports today.
Sunak is expected to announce an extension until the end of June in the Budget on 3 March, according to the Times.
The housing market has seen a mini-boom as buyers have rushed to get deals completed ahead of the current deadline of 31 March, but the chancellor has been warned that people are struggling to get deals done in time.
As part of his support measures during the pandemic, the Chancellor temporarily raised the stamp duty threshold to GBP500,000 from GBP125,000 for property deals in England and Northern Ireland, while the Scottish and Welsh governments raised it to GBP125,000.
House sales have soared as result, with the number of deals up by 24% on a seasonally adjusted basis in January compared with the same month the previous year, according to HMRC. The figure was the highest for January since 2007 on an unadjusted basis.
Critics, however, suggested that delaying the return of full stamp duty will not help the problem and just stoke demand even further in what is traditionally the busiest time of the year.
David Westgate, group chief executive, Andrews Property Group, said: “We will have the same cliff-edge scenario in three months with buyers desperately rushing to complete sales, but facing delays due to conveyancing issues.”
“Extending the deadline to the end of June will simply add a whole lot more cases to the bottom of the pile, and clog up the system.”