Estate agents report a surge in investors looking to buy property before the new buy-to-let stamp duty surcharge comes into force.
The 3% surcharge kicks on in 1 April but investors who need to arrange a mortgage face a far tighter deadline.
Last week Introducer Today revealed that brokers and landlords have as little as three weeks to beat the new buy-to-let surcharge and save thousands of pounds.
In December, the National Association of Estate Agents warned investors face a typical 50-day wait for a mortgage offer.
Jeremy Leaf, former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, has seen an increase in investors looking to buy before April.
He said: “When one considers how long it takes to buy a house in England and Wales, there really isn’t any time to lose.”
Leaf said investors need to buy before the middle of February to complete by April and avoid higher stamp duty.
“Because of the tight timeframe, there is more risk in buying a property in a chain because of the chance of fall-through of the sale, leaving even less time to complete a transaction. “Landlords may opt for new-build instead where there is no such risk and they have certainty of sale.”
Leaf has seen examples of vendors taking advantage of landlords’ desperation to complete before the April deadline, with some being greedy on the price.
He also said that investors need to talk to an independent mortgage broker about finance.
“With the NAEA warning in December of a typical 50-day wait for a mortgage offer, borrowers can’t afford to hang around by going direct to a lender.
“A mortgage broker will help them identify the lenders who can move quickly and get an offer out in time.”