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Property buyers praise ‘lifeline’ stamp duty holiday set to save them thousands

Edd Dracott, PA
·2-min read

Property buyers have described Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to extend the stamp duty cut to the end of June as a “lifeline” set to save them thousands of pounds.

In Wednesday’s budget, Mr Sunak extended the stamp duty holiday from the end of March until the end of June, then a new £250,000 threshold will apply until the end of September.

Sean Hallewell, 54, moved back to Bournemouth last summer after losing his job as a pilot in Mauritius.

He is selling his property in the seaside town so he can buy a smaller home and continue to live off savings while he is unemployed.

He has a buyer for his home but it did not appear the deal and his new purchase would be completed in time for a March deadline.

“With great relief, this is welcomed… my industry has been decimated, the savings pay the bills for a few months,” Mr Hallewell told the PA news agency.

“For us it’s not about contributing to our ‘wealth’, rather it’ll be throwing us a lifeline until I can get employment.

“Many ordinary people in our situation will feel a bit more secure as we all try to get back to normality, stability and future growth in all areas. Thank you, Rishi.”

Fellow property buyer Max, 38, a father-of-five from Kent, who did not wish to share his second name, said he is set to save about £15,000 as a result of the extension to the stamp duty holiday.

“(We are) a much happier household here today. Just looking forward to moving now, whenever that is,” the stay-at-home father told PA.

He had agreed the purchase of his new home in January, but the pandemic caused delays and the end of the stamp duty holiday may have collapsed the deal.

“I thought it would be as quick as my first house – just a month for searches,” he said.

“Unfortunately as everyone is working from home, everything is taking much longer and communication has been hampered… everything is moving through treacle.”

He said the delays and difficulties movers currently face in lockdown mean it “would seem fair” that the stamp duty holiday was extended.

As a result of the extension, Rightmove said an additional 300,000 property transactions in England could get through by the end of June and buyers could save £1.75 billion in total.

The property website said that within half an hour of Mr Sunak’s announcement, use of its mortgage calculator jumped by 85% and overall traffic to Rightmove rose by 16%.

Stamp duty will return to its “normal” threshold of £125,000 from October 1.