Bottleneck looming in the housing market ahead of Stamp Duty deadline

The average house price in the UK is now £24,000 higher than in March of 2020, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, HMRC figures revealed recently that property transactions during April fell by 36% compared to the previous month, with 111,260 properties being bought and sold. This, combined with the impending end of the Stamp Duty holiday, has led a rush to complete transactions, or risk paying thousands extra in fees and taxes.

ONS figures show that the average price of a home in the UK is now £256,000. Under the current Stamp Duty rules, no Stamp Duty would be payable at this level, due to the holiday period announced last year and extended to 30th June. Post-holiday, the threshold at which duty becomes payable reduces to £250,000. Many more buyers will need to pay stamp duty.

“In the mortgage market we have seen record growth, particularly in the niche areas of the industry, over the past year this is due to a combination of factors, notably record low interest rates” says Steven Clements, Senior Mortgage Adviser at Professional Contractor Mortgages. “While many mainstream mortgage applications have suffered, we have seen contractors and freelancers at the front of the queue in the past few months.”

“While this does not look like slowing down, I would urge caution around setting timescales for house purchases” continues Mr Clements. “As we enter the last month of the Stamp Duty £500,000 holiday, naturally many buyers are desperate not to miss out on significant tax savings. That in turn has led to more pressure on lenders to meet deadlines, which has resulted in a bottleneck and many ending up out of pocket, or worse still, missing out on their chosen property.”

In such a buoyant housing market, there is added pressure on all links in the chain. In trying to get ahead of the queue, some buyers may have unintentionally harmed their chances altogether.

“We have had more and more clients approach us recently looking to move quickly to keep a purchase or chain alive” says Steven. “Many clients have been proactive in trying to source mortgage funding by approaching their bank or building society and trying to get the ball rolling an application.”

“This, however, has led to many Contractors being turned away – due to lack of knowledge and understanding on behalf of the Lender. This has always been a problem but is more so in pressured times.”

Even without external pressure on a house sale transaction, the consequences of a declined application for many Contractors could prove fatal. Having a declined application on file could prove troublesome.

The advice is very clear – get your house in order both metaphorically and literally, by using experts to ensure a smooth and ultimately successful process.

“While your intentions are undoubtedly good, they could lead to a dead end as far as an application is concerned” warns Mr Clements. “I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to overcome a failed application even without time constraints. If you add in a highly competitive buying market and a race to beat the Stamp Duty deadline, if is often like buying a raffle ticket for your application..”

At Cleerly, our team have a combined experience of helping contractors secure mortgage funding of over 20 years, leading to drastically reduced numbers of declined applications, thanks to exclusive relationships with Contractor friendly lenders.


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