When the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday there was a rush of activity in the residential market. After the first lockdown people reassessed their needs. Some wanted to take advantage of being able to afford to move for family needs, others wanted different space as they began to work from home regularly and a percentage took increased flexibility as an opportunity to make a lifestyle move to rural or coastal retreats.
This all sounds like great news and is especially good for those early to the process. Recently however, three conveyancing groups – The Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Bold Legal Group, and The Conveyancing Association –warned in a statement: “The message that conveyancers would like clients and their estate agents to take on board is – understand that transactions are going to take longer than usual to progress and please be patient.’
The surge in people moving to take advantage of the SDLT holiday has meant the conveyancing system is, in some areas, now above capacity. Every aspect of the system is experiencing increased requests and delays. Lenders, estate agents, surveyors, search companies, lawyers are all experiencing protracted processes as a result of the volume of transactions meaning that, for clients, the process is taking longer.
All potential buyers and sellers should note that there is a real possibility that a transaction will not complete before the end of March 2021 and buyers need to budget accordingly. At B P Collins we are now quoting two SDLT rates to help clients plan. One will be the rate taking into account the SDLT holiday and we will also provide the standard rate that will be payable on completions which take place after 31 March 2021. Early communication is critical at this unprecedented time and our team will work very closely with clients during the transaction to help them successfully purchase or sell their property.