The numbers are in…how many sales didn’t make the Stamp Duty deadline?

Posted by Matt Hawkins on Jul 8, 2021 3:33:29 PM
Matt Hawkins

Now that we’re a week on from the end of the busiest month the majority of estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage providers and removal firms have ever seen, we can reflect on the successes of the Stamp Duty holiday and also assess just how many households didn’t manage to meet the deadline.

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If you’ve tried to get hold of an estate agent or removal company over the last few weeks, you’ll know that they have been rushed off their feet! And it’s no wonder given that by our estimates, there were 78,022 completions in the final week of June with over 36,000 of these on the 30th June alone!

Typically, we see around 19,000 completions a week and so in the week running up to the end of the Stamp Duty holiday, volumes were over four times higher than usual. Combine this with the fact that in Q2 this year, the number of new sales agreed was 33% higher than the same period in 2019, then you’ve got a property sector close to breaking point.

It’s perhaps no surprise then, that there were still a large number of properties that missed out on the Stamp Duty holiday. In ‘normal’ times the average time from sale agreed to completion was 12 weeks, so anyone agreeing a sale prior to 31st March this year could reasonably have expected that they had a good chance of benefiting from the Stamp Duty holiday.

However, the unprecedented market conditions we’ve seen since the re-opening of the property market in mid-May last year have caused logjams in the conveyancing and mortgage sectors, where they have been dealing with over 50% more cases than normal, with the same (and sometimes less) resources to handle them. This has resulted in average completion times being pushed to 21 weeks.

As a result, there are 124,000 properties that had a sale agreed before 31st March, but which didn’t hit the Stamp Duty deadline.

Hopefully, the majority of these will have been made aware of this in plenty of time to consider their options and re-negotiate within their chain to ensure that their sales are still able to proceed. Although it’s still early days, that does seem to be what we’re seeing as fall throughs are not significantly up on the usual weekly norms. We’ll continue to keep you posted on that one though!

It will also be very interesting to see whether we experience a similar set of circumstances prior to the £250K limit being removed on 30th September and what impact, if any, the Stamp Duty changes have on market activity throughout Q3.

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