With just over one month until 30th June, the residential property industry is working around the clock to help as many buyers as possible to meet the extended stamp duty holiday deadline. As we know, no tax will be levied on the first £500K of purchases up until this date, and this has been one of the triggers for a surge in transaction figures in 2021.
In March, we saw property completions rocket – by two thirds compared to March 2019 according to Landmark’s property trends report – as conveyancers worked hard to complete as many transactions as possible ahead of the original deadline. Based on activity levels we’re now seeing, we anticipate a repeat performance – but potentially spanning the next four months.
If we look beyond the 30th June deadline, Stamp Duty will then be ‘tapered’ until 30th September, meaning no SDLT will be charged on property transactions up to £250K.
My belief is that the demands placed upon conveyancers are therefore unlikely to subside and, while the priority may be currently focused on completing higher value properties, from 1st July the concession level drops to £250K. This will encompass all transaction values, as even the higher valued properties will continue to benefit from significant savings – paying SDLT only on the price above the £250K threshold.
With the evidence we are seeing of new instruction volumes flying in throughout March, April and May, conveyancing pipelines are brimming with volumes that are almost as high as they were at the peak last Autumn.
A significant factor to consider in all of this is the staffing levels within firms. We know that employee numbers have increased to meet rising needs, and the hope is that lawyers will be in a better position to cope compared to last year’s initial post-lockdown spike. We also wish for everyone involved in the process – whether working in the industry or as someone buying or selling a property – to remain positive, supportive and be as kind as possible.
We greatly support the Today’s Conveyancer Call for Kindness campaign. The extra strain being imposed on conveyancers is telling by the feedback we are hearing directly from our own customers, by posts we are reading on LinkedIn, and by the sheer number of new instructions we are seeing going through our system each week.
In my book, a cooperative approach always trumps hostility – and not just from a mental health perspective but also from a productivity point of view. People will generally do their best for you in return for support and friendliness, and we think it is important for everyone to remember this as the transaction pipelines continue to be fully loaded in the coming months.
For more information on Todays Conveyancer “Call for Kindness” campaign, click here.