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Stamp Duty Deadline

Stamp Duty Deadline

The past year or so has been very challenging for many as the UK has faced multiple lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions, however, some markets have excelled with the assistance of government support, including the housing market.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced in the Spring Budget that the stamp duty break, which was initially due to end on 31st March 2021, has been given a three-month extension until 30th June 2021.

Since the announcement, there has been a continued flurry within the property market as many potential home buyers aim to secure either their first property or move into their next step on the property ladder before this deadline.

There is a large incentive for buyers to rush to beat the extended deadline as homebuyers can set to benefit from thousands of pounds of savings by dodging or significantly reducing their stamp duty tax bill, however, there are warnings from industry experts that it could already be too late for some aspiring buyers.

In this post, we will explore what stamp duty is, the current rules and calculations as well as further details of the stamp duty holiday scheme and the barriers potential buyers may face this close to the deadline.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a type of tax payable when property or land is purchased over certain thresholds within England and Northern Ireland (Scotland and Wales have slightly different systems).

The tax is payable when:

  • Freehold property is purchased
  • New or existing leaseholds are bought
  • Property is purchased through a shared ownership scheme


  • Property or land is transferred in exchange for payment

The amount of SDLT payable will depend on a range of factors including:

  • If the purchaser(s) are first-time buyers
  • If the purchaser(s) already own property
  • If the purchaser(s) are UK residents

The calculation of SDLT payable will be established depending on which rate would be applicable for the purchaser(s) circumstances.  The rates set out a percentage of SDLT due within bands, similar to the way income tax is charged.  There is also an SDLT calculator available on the government website.

What is the Stamp Duty Holiday Scheme?

The stamp duty holiday scheme was introduced in July 2020 as the UK emerged from the first coronavirus lockdown, in order to boost the housing market.  The scheme involves the threshold for when stamp duty kicks in to be increased to £500,000 for a set period, initially until the end of March 2021, then this was extended until the end of June 2021.

The scheme means that should someone purchase a residential property for under £500,000 there would be no Stamp Duty Land Tax payable.  The threshold for non-residential land and properties is £150,000.

Following the end of the stamp duty holiday scheme, the threshold for stamp duty payable on residential properties will decrease to £250,000 until the end of September 2021 and then will decrease again to £125,000 from the 1st October 2021.  This lower limit returns the thresholds to the same levels as they were before July 2020.

Whereas the threshold for non-residential land and properties remains at £150,000 following the end of the scheme.

Following the end of the scheme, first-time buyers may be eligible for a discount on stamp duty as long as all parties due to purchase the property are first-time buyers and the property price is valued at £500,000 or less.

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Does the Stamp Duty Holiday Scheme Apply to Buy-to-let Properties?

The stamp duty holiday scheme applies to all residential properties and therefore buy-to-let investments can benefit from the scheme, however, there may be a stamp duty surcharge payable if the investor already owns a property.

 How Could it be too Late to Benefit from the Stamp Duty Holiday Scheme?

Unfortunately, due to the duration of time, it often takes to complete a property purchase, often upwards of 88 days on average, even the extended deadline is now too close for many to be able to benefit unless the process has already begun.

However, the scheme has been very popular! A recent survey by MoneySuperMarket found that around 66% of current buyers are looking to purchase directly because of the stamp duty holiday scheme, and therefore if they are primed and ready with mortgage offers in place, there may still be a time in the most straightforward of cases.

However, delays may be faced due to the sheer demand on the professionals within the property market, such as surveyors undertaking valuations and legal teams completing the formal checks and finalising the purchase.

 Housing market during coronavirus pandemic

Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, the UK housing market has remained strong.  The evidence of which extends from soaring house prices due to fierce competition to an expansion of products within the mortgage market, including an increased number of 95% Loan to Value mortgages.

The availability of larger value mortgages opens up the property market to those struggling to gather large deposits, therefore increasing the number of buyers.

As well as lenders offering high Loan to Value mortgages independently, the government has also launched a mortgage guarantee scheme with an aim of providing affordability to both first-time buyers and current homeowners.

The government-backed scheme will form a guarantee to the linked-lenders for 80% of property values in the event of a property repossession and will be in place for 7 years from the commencement of the mortgage.  The scheme is open for new applications until December 2022.

In addition to the size of mortgages, the quantity of mortgage approvals has also increased to the highest level since September 2007, according to a report by the Bank of England in September 2020, affirming the appetite from both lenders and buyers.


Although the UK has faced many challenges over the past year due to the coronavirus, there is still a buoyant property market as people rush to make the most of the stamp duty holiday scheme.

Should you be in a position to move quickly to aim to benefit from the scheme and would like some help and guidance, please get in touch with our team today.

If you’d like to find out more about how Ashtons can help you contact one of our branches for further information.

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