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Stamp duty holiday 'to be extended until end of June'

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According to media reports it looks like Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be moving the deadline from 31 March to the end of June, as part of his Budget plans next week amid calls from a think tank for the tax to be scrapped altogether.

The chancellor had been urged to push back the deadline as many people have been left scrambling to complete their transactions before the end date - property website Rightmove has been estimating that 100,000 people could miss out.

Under the current rules, announced by the Treasury last year in a bid to fire up the property market, the stamp duty threshold has been temporarily raised from £125,000 to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland and Wales, it was increased to £250,000.

The holiday appears to have had a positive impact on the housing market, some 129,400 transactions went through in the UK in December, compared with 87,040 in 2014, according to provisional figures from HM Revenue & Customs.