Back in July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a stamp duty holiday. Cue the cheers of prospective buyers who could save thousands of pounds as a result. However, fast forward to now and the housing market is facing significant delays due to the huge surge in buyers looking to take advantage of the holiday. This could mean many may miss out on getting their purchase through before the deadline in March 2021.
So, how can you give yourself the best chance of moving before the stamp duty holiday ends?
The best way to give yourself a fighting chance of saving that money is to start as early as possible. In fact, you should have started before the 1st November according to many industry experts. This date has been widely considered as the last day that comfortably gives you enough time to complete the entire house buying process before the end of the stamp duty holiday on 31st March 2021.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the start of November has been and gone. So, if you haven’t begun looking at houses or put an offer in yet, stop reading this and do that ASAP!
The reason why you need to start your house move as soon as possible is because the estimated average time between finding a property to moving in is now 15 weeks! That’s over a month longer than this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off. This delay is much longer than the pre-coronavirus average. It is due to overwhelming demand caused by several factors, one of the key ones being buyers keen to save money by avoiding stamp duty.
It is also important to remember that the estimated 15 weeks doesn’t take into account the Christmas period or a potential future lockdown. Both of these things could mean the process takes even longer. Similarly, for more complex cases, such as buyers who are self-employed, it may take up to eight weeks to just get a mortgage offer approved. Eight weeks may not seem a long time with March being five months away but if there is a week or so delay at every stage from valuation to mortgage offer to searches to exchange, it quickly adds up.
We don’t mean to be all doom and gloom, but the reality is you need to move fast if you want to avoid stamp duty and you’re probably going to want professional help. To make the process as fast and efficient as possible, speak to your mortgage adviser. They can help you have the best chance possible of making the March deadline.