Property pandemonium subsides with end of SDLT holiday

Conveyancers up and down cheered a sigh of relief as the stamp duty holiday concluded on Thursday at midnight. A few sore heads on Friday may have dealt with end of the week completions but the pandemonium generated by the holiday may now subside.

Introduced to stimulate the market in July 2020, it has in turn does it’s bit in supporting jobs and driving economic growth. Indeed, we have saved many hundreds of thousands of homemovers their SDLT to the tune of as much as £6bn! And as an industry we can be rightly proud of the role we have played in achieving this.

In an effort to recognise all those involved in the monumental efforts the whole of the industry has gone through in the last 18 months Today’s Conveyancer has joined forces with Estate Agent Today and The Bold Legal Group in recognising the incredible work of property professionals the length and breadth of the home moving process.

We asked the industry to share their thoughts and comments… and the responses came flooding in.

“I had manic periods that went on for weeks, but nothing comes close to the last year. I for one salute them and I know many others do, and on behalf of the thousands of people they helped move home, would simply like to say “great job, well done. If you can, take some time off to re-charge your batteries.”

Rob Hailstone, founder of The Bold Legal Group

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by conveyancing solicitors since the stamp duty land tax holiday began. They helped ensure buyers could complete their moves, despite operating under immense pressure and in the most challenging circumstances with pandemic restrictions”

I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society of England and Wales.

“The combination of lifestyle changes, the stamp duty holiday and cheap borrowing has fuelled the market to unprecedented levels. This demand has of course been positive but has brought with it its pressures. Agents have worked more hours, dealt with disheartened purchasers, anxious vendors and worn out colleagues. In the midst of this they have remained professional and done their best for their clients. We are immensely proud of our members and the sector for the work that has been achieved.”

Nathan Emerson, Propertymark chief executive.

“Very well done to everyone for their amazing efforts over the course of the last 12 to 18 months. Hopefully the end of the SDLT holiday marks something of a return to normality for everyone……and we just have the Christmas deadline to deal with next! Well done to everyone who maintained such professionalism and were kind to each other during these fraught times!”

Lloyd Davies, managing director of Convey Law and operations director at The Conveyancing Association.

“Property professionals are not the NHS or key workers – God bless them all – but they are hugely important to the UK’s economic success. When we came out of the first lockdown and the property sector was one of the first industries to be allowed to trade there was a sense of responsibility. Agents and conveyancers around the UK held the hopes and dreams of thousands of home movers in the palms of their hands and somehow they’ve made it happen. I salute you all!”

Simon Brown, founder The ESTAS Group.

“Estate agents, conveyancers and surveyors were not given the status of key worker during the pandemic. However, at the height of the first wave all of them were asked to go back to work as imperative assets in the fight to continue the wider economy. During the last 18 months all property professionals have been substantive in their service to customers by helping people fulfil their home moving needs and dreams. It has been The Guild’s pleasure to serve and protect its Members during this time and support the sector – I salute you.”

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals.

“The industry has placed an increased focus on employee wellbeing – with mental health first aider training and the introduction of shutdown days edging into the norm. We’re proud to have played a significant role in supporting conveyancers and estate agents during this challenging time and would like to join others in saying We Salute You for their frontline efforts in a remarkable period that I’m certain we’ll be talking about for years to come.”

Joe Pepper, chief executive at tmgroup.

Once the dust has settled following the extraordinary last few months housing market activity, the enormity of what has been achieved by all parties involved in buying and selling homes, in enabling people to move against the backdrop of Covid, will start to sink in. The dedication and resilience of conveyancing lawyers in particular goes beyond requiring recognition; it deserves total admiration.

Mike Ockenden, Thornby Associates

“Being a conveyancer now is pretty much a thankless and pressurised job at the best of times, but the last 12 months have been so hard on our profession and associated partners. I remember the exodus of people we had leave the industry in 2008/2009, but I fear this will be worse. To those that are left and still working more hours than contracted, I and the rest of the industry salute you!”

Rob Hosier, director at inCase and former conveyancer.

“As we close out on one of the most demanding periods ever in the history of conveyancing, I’m incredibly proud to have been part of an industry that has kept the UK moving. We’ve all experienced the impact of the pandemic and the moving SDLT target that ended up being not one but two deadlines. Looking forward, we should work even closer together to get average time scales back to pre-pandemic levels and to tackle the issues created by the fluctuating completion patterns of property demand.”

Kevin Smith, COO Simplify

“Completions can be a fraught experience for firms’ clients and fee earners, but also for accounts departments. The industry has experienced pressure like never before. We sent a record number of client payments – over 1.6 billion pounds in June alone. We have been delighted to support our clients during a time of unprecedented activity in the sector.”

Alex Holt, Director of Business Development at Cashroom

“It is clear that for many conveyancers Saturday and Sunday are just additional working days. Unfortunately, the spats and the transactions that go wrong gain the headlines, however the reality is that in these unprecedented times, the overwhelming majority of transactions have been completed diligently, professionally and to the required timescale. We salute you all.”

Simon Lumb, director, The National Deeds Depository

‘I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to our clients who have worked endlessly through this incredibly busy period, helping turn home movers dreams into a reality. None of us would have expected this hive of activity to the levels we’ve seen, but your service and dedication has been exceptional. Take time to reflect on your efforts and achievements, there’s a lot to celebrate with all your hard work.’

Scott Bozinis, CEO, InfoTrack

Sadly we couldn’t print them all but so many people from around the industry have shared their thoughts. Feel free to comment below to add yours.

Thank you, and from all of us at Today’s Conveyancer and Today’s Media to all conveyancers, we salute you!

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