2nd October 2020
The UK property market is currently experiencing some challenging yet exciting times as property professionals try to catch up with back-logs and delays caused by covid-19 whilst also pleasing millions of homebuyers eager to move house before the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday comes to an end!
Our Property Law Team take time to explain the events of this year so far and share some tips on how to make sure your transaction runs as smoothly as possible given the tough circumstances.
Whilst we do not hold a crystal ball to see what the next few months have in store, we do know some proven tasks that can help us work with you and progress as quickly as possible.
2020 will go down in history as a year that everyone remembers for different reasons. For property lawyers, mortgage brokers, lenders, and estate agents they are not likely to forget this period of uncertainty and high demand for some time.
In April, the property market was forced to almost shut down as the UK went into national lockdown causing a back-log of transactions to spill into the late summer and autumn. Fraught home movers were halted mid-packing, and some were left in limbo unable to move into their properties. Sellers were frustrated, unable to allow would-be buyers view their homes and builders of new developments were forced to down tools, delaying transactions in the new build property sector.
All these delays caused a ripple effect, meaning that property professionals would have a much busier Summer – which was fine – those working in this sector are used to a fast-pace and fluctuating working habits. But then another curveball hit.
Soon followed the generous government initiative of a Stamp Duty Land Tax concession. A Holiday on all stamp duty land tax for properties under £500,000 until 31 March 2021 which would boost the economy. A shiny bonus for those already near completion, and a welcome relief for those considering a move or trying to get onto the property ladder for the first time.
Estate agents have been flooded with volumes of properties being listed for sale and the lightning speed in which they are being snapped up by eager buyers looking to take advantage of the limited time offer. This demand also meant that some sellers or owners of multiple properties could bump up their house prices in some desirable areas to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.
Whilst there are definitely some positives to come out of the initiative, it does come with potential setbacks. There is currently a growing waiting list for local authority searches, mortgage valuations are taking longer than usual, and the pure volume of enquiries and transactions makes the whole process clunkier and slower to complete. Increased requirements from lenders, both before and after offer, are also currently contributing to delays.
The Property Law Team take pride in offering a bespoke and high-quality service and feel that it is our professional duty as trusted conveyancers to warn buyers and sellers of the risks of delays that are currently out of our control. If you are working with a tight budget it is advisable to consider your affordability and ‘Plan B’ should the stamp duty deadline be missed.
Our diligent team will do everything in their power to push transactions through, especially as we approach the 31 March 2021 deadline when the tax break is due to end. It would be a shame for homebuyers to miss out on the benefits and we urge individuals to get organised as early as possible.
There are tasks that can be performed by you at an early stage which will assist in progressing transactions and we encourage the following:
When making an enquiry with us detail as much information as possible to help us provide you with an accurate estimate, without having to go back and forth for information. We will need to know:
Ideally, provide all the above information in writing via an email (email@example.com) or website enquiry (Contact Form) so that it can be picked up as quickly as possible, an estimate can be provided to you and the matter may progress.
We understand all too well how stressful buying and or selling property can be – without the added pressure of a global pandemic and economic crisis at the same time!
The deadline for the end of the Stamp Duty Land Tax relief seems like some time away now, but we all appreciate how fast the year has passed already and with uncertainty still surrounding the UK in terms of tighter restrictions or localised lockdowns, it pays to be one step ahead wherever possible.
Contact us immediately with your proposed property transaction so that we can take the steps required to make things happen for you. Please do not leave it until later down the line as we would not want you to miss out.
Speak to our dedicated Property Law Team on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ask our Live Chat assistant to kindly take your information in order to receive an estimate and move forward with your transaction.
Ready to Take the Next Step and Buy a Home Together?
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Guide to Viewing a Property
Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday to Boost Property Transactions
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Lamb Brooks LLP
39 Winchester Street
f: 01256 330 933
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