Following the Government’s budget announcement today regarding the extension of the Stamp Duty Holiday, please see the below FAQ’s about how the extension will affect you and what you can expect from the conveyancing process over the next few months:
When is the stamp duty holiday extended to?
The Government has confirmed that the stamp duty holiday for England and Northern Ireland has been extended until 30th June 2021 on all purchases up to the value of £500k.
Furthermore, on purchases up to a value of £250k the stamp duty holiday will continue through to September 30th 2021.
This means that from July 2021 onwards stamp duty rates and thresholds are due to revert back to previous levels on purchases in excess of £250k and from October 2021 the stamp duty holiday will come to an end for all.
The average conveyance is taking in the region of 16-20 weeks from the point of allocation to a property lawyer to complete and therefore if you have not already had an offer accepted and an introduction from your allocated property lawyer and your purchase property is worth more than £250k it is unlikely that you will benefit from the current stamp duty holiday and we will not guarantee completion before July 2021.
Can I spend my stamp duty money?
All property transactions are different and even the most straight forward purchase can result in unexpected matters arising during the course of a conveyance. We recommend that you do not spend your stamp duty money. Until exchange has taken place and a completion date has been agreed by all parties there are no guarantees you will benefit from the current stamp duty holiday, even if you are already a long way down the conveyancing process.
Can I still move house before the current lockdown has eased later in the year?
Yes, government guidance does allow for moving home.
The following guidance has been issued regarding moving home:
- People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.
- Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work.
- If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings. Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in and wearing a face covering.
Are all conveyancing practices still operating as the country eases out of lockdown?
We cannot comment on other conveyancing practices but we can confirm that we continue to work hard for our clients. Along with many of our clients we have adapted to many changes in our way of working over the course of the last year and many of our teams continue to work remotely. Whilst the country eases out of lockdown our offices will remain closed to the public.
Like the majority of families across the country, some of our team members are balancing childcare with remote working. We kindly request your understanding and patience if there is background noise on our calls, or it takes us a little longer to get back to you.
Is Covid-19 still having an impact on the conveyancing sector?
Yes. There are lots of different parties involved in the conveyancing process, including mortgage lenders, search companies, the Land Registry, surveyors and estate agents. All of these businesses will be making changes to their operations due to the easing of the national lockdown, including changes in staff members working from home, and taking additional steps to protect their employees and clients.
What impact will the extension to the stamp duty holiday have on my transaction?
During the course of 2020 and into 2021 the property market has faced the busiest period in over a decade. Many clients sought to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and there has been a significant increase in property transactions throughout the whole of the UK. The current national average time to move home is 16-20 weeks to complete the conveyancing process – this is from the point at which the file is allocated to a Property Lawyer and not the point at which we are instructed. There is the possibility that new delays arising from the latest announcement will occur as more people look to take advantage of government’s latest announcement. We greatly appreciate your understanding and patience during this period.
What can I do to speed things up?
We appreciate you will want to get moved as quickly as possible. Here is what you can do to make sure your transaction goes through as quickly as possible:
- Reply to any requests for additional information from our team in a timely manner.
- If you have received an update from us, let your estate agent know so they are aware of what’s happening.
- Use the PMPL myCase app where you can to send documents and messages in a secure environment, and track your case milestones and progress.
- Avoid sending more than one email at a time / continually dialling our phone lines so our team can focus on the legal work and progressing your matter.
Promoting mental wellbeing in conveyancing sector
Over the course of the past 12 months we have seen many reports within the conveyancing sector identifying a significant increase in mental illness, anxiety and depression amongst conveyancing practitioners. The impact of significant changes in working patterns, increased client expectations, juggling home schooling and full time working amongst the industry has been difficult for many. As an employer PM Property Lawyers takes the mental wellbeing of our team seriously and we ask for your kindness and understanding towards our staff.
With best wishes
PM Property Lawyers