Home-buyers ‘should start search by November to benefit from stamp duty holiday’

Home-buyers hoping to benefit from the stamp duty holiday may need to get the ball rolling by the start of November, analysis suggests.

The stamp duty threshold on home purchases in England and Northern Ireland was temporarily raised to £500,000 in July and will remain in place until March 31 2021.

But research from Legal & General Mortgage Club found those who need to sell their home and find a new property may need to allow nearly four months to complete their housing transaction, as the market continues to experience high levels of demand.

Based on speaking to property professionals, it estimates a typical home-buying timeline could be up to 15 weeks currently – or up to 17 weeks for buyers with more complex requirements.

Mortgage applicants with complex backgrounds, such as those with impaired credit histories or who have been on furlough, are particularly likely to find they have a wait to secure a mortgage offer.

Bearing in mind the Christmas holidays and any potential further coronavirus restrictions which may cause further delays to the process, buyers may need to start their search by November 1 to make sure they have sufficient time to take up the stamp duty holiday, Legal & General Mortgage Club suggested.

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Those wishing to take advantage of the holiday will need to plan carefully to avoid missing the March 2021 deadline, particularly if they have their own property to sell first.”

He said mortgage advisers can help buyers to create a plan as they understand how to navigate the ongoing changes.

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