MILLIONS of Brits are in a race against time to bag a home and save thousands before the stamp duty holiday ends.
The tax-break is due to be tapered off from July 1 – this Thursday – causing a last minute scramble to complete on a new home.
Today, figures from Nationwide show the relief is partly to blame for a surge in house prices at the fastest pace since 2004.
Annual house price growth jumped to 13.4% in June – the strongest growth since November 2004.
Tax on the first £500,000 of a home purchase has temporarily been scrapped until the end of this month (June 30).
The relief means Brits could save up to £15,000 if they complete their transaction before the deadline.
What is stamp duty?
STAMP duty land tax (SDLT) is a lump sum payment anyone buying a property or piece of land over a certain price has to pay.
Up until July 8 2020, most house-buyers in England and Northern Ireland had to pay stamp duty on properties over £125,000.
This was temporarily increased to £500,000 until March 31, 2021 in the government's mini-Budget in July 2020.
The Chancellor extended the help until September 2021 in his Spring Budget.
The holiday will last in full until June, before being reduced to £250,000 from July.
The rate a buyer has to fork out varies depending on the price and type of property.
Rates are different depending on whether it is residential, a second home or buy-to-let, or whether you're a first-time buyer.
The usual system in England for residential properties means:
- First-time buyers pay nothing on properties below £300,000 (and relief available on properties of up to £500,000)
- You pay nothing if the property costs below £125,000
- You pay 2% if it is worth between £125,001 and £250,000
- You pay 5% if between £250,001 and up to £925,000
- You pay 10% if it is between £925,001 and £1.5million
- You pay 12% on anything over £1.5million
For second homes or buy to let properties:
- 3% on purchases up to 125,000
- 5% on purchases between £125,001 and £250,000
- 8% on purchases above £250,001 and £925,000
- 13% on purchases above £925,001 and £1.5 million
- 15% on purchases above £1.5 million
Stamp duty rates are different in Scotland and Wales.
It has meant a raft of opportunistic homebuyers have flooded the market to cash in on the saving.
But Covid has meant less homes are being put up for sale, leading experts to estimate Britain could have no homes left on the market within two months.
This means a boom in demand coupled with a lack of property available to buy has caused house prices to soar.
Average prices have increased to £245,432, up from £216,403 in June 2020, according to Nationwide.
While the market is currently on the edge of boiling over, will prices cool in 2022 after the stamp duty holiday ends this year?
We spoke to property experts to see what will happen:
Will house prices drop in 2022?
House prices are sky-high at the moment, but some experts think they’ll drop off next year.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts that property prices will tumble 14% by the end of this year as we enter into 2022.
Other experts agree that prices will tumble after the tax relief ends, which will only continue into the new year.
Mortgage broker OnlineMortgageAdvisor managing director and mortgage expert Pete Mugleston said he expects prices to "dip during the summer" once the stamp duty relief ends.
This will only continue into next year, as the property price boom the UK is seeing is "unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term," he said.
But others are not so sure we'll see demand dampening once the stamp duty holiday ends – which means any dramatic dip in prices is unlikely to happen.
Quilter mortgage expert Karen Noye said: "Once the stamp duty holiday begins tapering in June, along with the furlough scheme, we could see some of the froth come out of the market and this may then lead to a slow and steady decline in prices rather than any immediate shock."
While property consultant Andrews Property Group chief executive David Westgate said prices are unlikely to "cool significantly" because demand is outweighing supply of homes.
But he added: "A period of sustained economic growth and fallling unemployment should support house prices next year, but we shouldn't see price growth at the level we're experiencing at the moment."
Will I hit the stamp duty deadline if I buy now?
If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to buy, you might be tempted to act quick and bag a deal before the deadline.
But it's very unlikely you'll hit the June 30 deadline and save thousands, even if you'd started the process months ago.
The Covid crisis has stilted the homebuying process, meaning the average time it now takes for Brits to complete their sales is up 6% compared to this time last year.
Trussle's head of mortgages, Miles Robinson, warned it now takes an "average 134 days to complete on a property purchase in the UK".
This means that if you'd started today,it would be near the end of November before you seal the deal – way after the stamp holiday deadline ends in June.
But Mr Westgate adds that we could see a stamp duty shake-up in the 2022 Budget in March next year – and possibly see the relief return.
"It wouldn't surprise me if the Chancellor announced some changes to Stamp Duty in his 2022 Budget to keep house prices in check and avoid the property market overheating," he said.
New 5% deposit mortgages have been launched by leading banks including Natwest and Barclays as part of the government's 95% mortgage scheme.
Lenders pulled almost all of these types of mortgage deals when the coronavirus crisis hit last year as they were seen as too risky.
We explain how to find the best mortgage for you, including lenders offering "no deposit" loans.
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