How can you take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before March 31st 2021?


Written by: Paul Thompson on 26th October 2020

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How can you take advantage of the stamp duty holiday before March 31st 2021?

In June, the Government announced plans to stimulate the housing market post-lockdown by removing Stamp Duty Land Tax on all property purchases below the value of £500,000 until the end of March 2021.

The policy has seemingly had the desired effect. According to figures from Rightmove and Nationwide, among others, the asking price of homes coming on to the market in Britain has hit a record high.

So, how can you take advantage of the current buoyant housing market if you are looking to sell?

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax you may be liable to pay if you buy a residential property or a piece of land in England and Northern Ireland above a certain value. Until the stamp duty holiday was announced, it became payable on a property purchase over £125,000 (or £500,000 for first time buyers).

Tax is paid when you:

  • purchase a new or existing leasehold property
  • purchase a freehold property
  • purchase property through a shared ownership scheme
  • are transferred land or property in exchange for payment, for example you take on a mortgage or buy a share in a house.

The tax is paid in bandings based on the value of the property and must be paid within 14 days of completing the purchase. The banding on residential properties before the temporary change was announced was as follows:

Standard Stamp Duty Rates
Purchase Price Rate on main residence Rate for additional properties
£0 - £125k 0% 3%
£125,000 - £250k 2% 5%
£250,000 - £925k 5% 8%
£925,001 - £1.5m 10% 13%
£1.5m+ 12% 15%
* No stamp duty is paid on property transactions costing less than £40,000 as these are considered low value and not reported to HMRC

What impact is the stamp duty holiday having on the property market?

One of the biggest impacts of the stamp duty holiday has been on property prices, with Nationwide reporting house price increases of up to 5%, the biggest jump since September 2016.

Price paid data from the ONS / Land Registry also shows an increase, with the average house price £5,500 higher in August than before lockdown. 

It’s also been reported by Rightmove that sales agreed were up 58% in October compared to a year ago.

This data is very much confirming what we have been seeing on the ground, with our most recent online auction achieving outstanding results for our clients and joint agents.

The auction achieved sales of over £6.1 million, with many lots achieving sale prices far in excess of the guide price. The auction saw a record number of bidders, with over 1,500 bids made over the two days.

At Pugh, we have sold more than 240 lots and reported sales of over £27m in our online auctions since lockdown, proving investors are quickly returning to their pre-COVID acquisition activity. And now, with the stamp duty cut, there is an added window of opportunity for sellers to come to market and to find a buyer who is tempted by these savings.

How can you take advantage?

While the property industry is warning that sellers need to move fast to benefit from the stamp duty holiday, the speed of the auction process means we have more time to sell your property than if selling through private treaty. 

Our average completion dates are just 28 days and whilst it’s reported that conveyancing is catching up on the backlog of transactions, properties sold by online auction already have legal packs in place and so are completing more quickly.

Between now and the end of the March, we have 4 online auctions scheduled. The full list of dates can be found here.

Thinking about selling a property at auction?

With the stamp duty holiday continuing to fuel the property market, now is a good time for investors to re-evaluate their portfolios and consider selling their property assets to benefit from the current pricing levels.

We can offer free expert advice on the sale of both property and land, across the UKSimply call our expert team on 0345 505 1200 or click here for a FREE auction appraisal.



Written by: Paul Thompson on 26th October 2020

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About the Author

Paul is a Chartered Surveyor and member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA). He is also one of the few auctioneers in the country with a position on the RICS Real Estate Auction Committee.

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