Half of conveyancers want SDLT scrapped

Over half of conveyancers want SDLT on property purchasers under £500,000 to be scrapped if the government continues with its plan to end the SDLT holiday on 31st March, according to a snap poll run by Index West Midlands.

More than half (51.2%) think scrapping stamp duty will be the best course of action, but a fifth (23.8%) still believe the value banding rates have a place and should return to normal from the 1st of April.

Around a quarter of conveyancers believe a gradual reintroduction of Stamp Duty is preferable to an overnight return to the Stamp Duty charges if the government sticks to its plan to end the holiday on the 31st March – 14.5% want to see a phased reintroduction over two years, with 10.5% saying a shorter 12-month reintroduction timescale is ideal.

The poll’s findings come in the wake of the government finally confirming (on Tuesday 26 January 2021) that MPs will debate the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday extension on Monday 1 February 2021, triggered by the ‘Extend the Stamp Duty for an additional six months after 31 March 2021’ online petition hitting 126,000 signatures.

Around 1000 professionals took part in the Index West Midlands poll, which also reveals that 56% of conveyancers want to see an extension to the Stamp Duty, making this their top choice for changes to the conveyancing industry in 2021. Almost a quarter (24%) want more digitisation across the sector, while 20% want property exchanges and completions to be possible on Saturdays.

According to the poll, 64% of conveyancers believe the house buying process should be split into two to reduce the stress and anxiety on purchasers, so that the financial transaction stage on one day and the move into the property on the next day.

Index West Midlands is a bespoke property search firm that primarily works with property conveyancers and solicitors to provide conveyancing searches such as reports and property transaction solutions. It ran the poll amid growing turmoil in the residential property market, with the average asking prices for homes falling by 0.9% in the last month, an estimated 100,000 purchasers  facing unexpected stamp duty bill amid delays and over 600,000 property sales waiting to complete*.

Kate Bould, Managing Director of Index West Midlands says:

“ It’s a relief that House of Commons is set to debate extending the SDLT holiday. The future of the property sector and economy depends on it, and our poll confirms that the majority of professionals working in it are against an overnight return to the Stamp Duty tax rates, believing that it should either be scrapped all together or be given a phased return.

“Without a fresh approach to Stamp Duty, the property purchases and sales will slowdown and eventually stall, which will be catastrophic for the property sector and the wider economy.”

The Chancellor’s stamp duty land tax holiday means all homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland buying homes valued at up to £500,000 don’t pay any stamp duty on the purchase, so long as it is completed by 31 March 2021. The 90-minute Parliamentary debate takes place at 4.30pm on Monday 1 February 2021, and will be led by Elliot Colburn MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, and Jesse Norman MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, set to respond for the government.

Index West Midlands provides conveyancing searches, including reports and property transaction solutions such as environmental risk factors, HS2, utility and telecommunications reports, for commercial and residential property lawyers, real estate and agriculture lawyers, across Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, and the Black Country. For more information: https://indexpi.co.uk/offices/westmidlands.html.

*Statistics from Rightmove

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