Stamp duty holiday: The winners and the losers

Time to sort your mortgage and get moving

On Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland until next March.

He said the move would save the average house buyer £4,500.

There has been a mixed reaction to the news.

"The chancellor's announcement should give a welcome boost to the housing market and in turn, have positive knock-on effects for the wider economy," said Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance.

"The stamp duty holiday might have a positive indirect impact on a long list of related industries, such as house builders, conveyancers, estate agents, finance and insurance providers, house movers and furniture and garden retailers," said Jamie Ward, head of stamp taxes at PwC.

But critics said the temporary move needed to be longer.

"It gives little opportunity for house builders to use the reduction to inform strategic decisions on construction plans beyond the next nine months," said Chris Denning, partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson.

"Making the stamp duty cut temporary is a gamble," warned David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group.

"Cliff-edge deadlines completely distort the market and rarely benefit the consumer."

He warned of "a boom scenario" between now and April next year, "when a disproportionate number of people are buying at higher prices".

Sarah Ryan, head of conveyancing at law firm Simpson Millar, called on the government to make the scheme retrospective to help people like James Davies.

"For people who have managed to complete on the purchase of their home either during lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath, this will come as a bitter blow," she said.

By Simon Read, business reporter, 8th July 2020; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53340858#