The managing director of bespoke property search firm Index West Midlands says the government must urgently review the UK’s ‘outdated and antiquated’ house buying process.
Kate Bould says the Budget on March 3 is the perfect opportunity for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce a review of the country’s home buying system.
“The rumours that the Chancellor will use next week’s Budget to announce an extension to the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday until June is exactly what the residential property sector needs right now,” she comments.
“Ending it on the March 31 as was originally planned would have been catastrophic for the sector, threatened the completion of around 60,000 property sales caught up in the residential property log-jam, and given thousands of people an unexpected bill for stamp duty.”
Bould believes such a positive signal of government support must be the first step. “The Chancellor should use the SDLT announcement as the turning point for the residential property sector and commit to a long-overdue overhaul of the UK’s antiquated and outdated house buying process.”
“Such a review should include a study of the house buying and search models in other countries, which are much more relevant to today’s digital-first world, are paperless and benefit from the latest developments in technology.”
The Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday means all homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland buying homes valued at up to £500,000 don't pay any stamp duty on the purchase.
The holiday was the subject of a Parliamentary debate in February, led by Elliot Colburn MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, and Jesse Norman MP, financial secretary to the Treasury.
Last month, a poll carried out by Index Property Information revealed that around 56% of conveyancers want the extension to the stamp duty holiday.
Around 1,000 professionals took part in the poll, which also revealed that a quarter of conveyancers want a gradual reintroduction of SDLT and not an overnight return to the stamp duty charges. Some 14.5% want it reintroduced over two years, and 10.5% want a 12-month reintroduction timescale.