RISHI Sunak could extend the stamp duty holiday by six weeks in a boost for home buyers.
The Chancellor is considering a limited extension of the holiday through to mid-May, according to the Telegraph.
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The possible extension would help to alleviate fears of sales falling through after the March 31 deadline – resulting in a “completion trap” for buyers.
A source told the Telegraph: “It is certainly the case that a lot of people would be caught in the completion trap if the holiday were to end when it is due to.”
But the Chancellor is said to oppose a longer, six-month extension amid concerns over Britain’s growing deficit.
A treasury spokesman told the paper: “We do not comment on future tax policy outside of fiscal events.”
Mr Sunak announced plans to raise the threshold for paying stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 last July, in a bid to kickstart the housing market following months of stagnation during lockdown.
This has resulted a surge in demand and in house prices, which were up 6.4 per cent in January compared with the same period last year.
But Brits have also been hit with severe delays while purchasing properties as a result of lockdown.
And it is feared that many home buyers could miss out on the stamp duty holiday due to the logjam.
A third of house sales could fall through if it is not extended, an industry expert warned in December.
In a survey by the Guild of Property Professionals, thousands of homebuyers said they will pull the plug on their deals if it is not extended.
Around a third (31%) said they would very likely cancel their planned move if they had to pay stamp duty, with a further 43% admitting that they would most likely do the same.
According to The Negotiator, the average time to exchange contracts once an offer has been accepted has increased from 96 to 124 days – delays which mean many could miss out on the benefits of the holiday.
It comes as figures yesterday showed the British economy shrunk at its fastest rate since the 1920s last year.
The Office for National Statistics revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 9.9%.