The impending stamp duty holiday deadline has led to a sharp rise in transactions, with HMRC revealing that total stamp duty transactions in the final quarter of 2020 were 43% higher than in Q3 2020.
Total stamp duty transactions in Q4 2020 were 14% higher than in Q4 2019.
Residential property transactions between October and December were 44% higher than in Q3 2020 and 16% higher than in Q4 2019.
Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven, said: “The latest statistics from HMRC show there has been a sustained increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax transactions in Q4. The restrictions placed on the industry in Q2 2020 due to the pandemic meant a near hiatus in activity, but the Stamp Duty holiday appears to have achieved its intended result, with market activity accelerating and a rush of transactions late in the year.
“However, the fast-approaching deadline for the end of the tax holiday has created a cliff-edge as buyers hurry to complete transactions while bottlenecks in the process continue to slow down property sales. Following the debate in Parliament this week, there have been renewed calls to extend the holiday and many are wondering why the government is choosing to take its foot off the accelerator now, while there is still so much pressure on the wider economy. Whatever decision is made, it should be made as early as possible and clearly communicated so that everyone can plan accordingly.
“For buyers in need of a fast transaction, specialist lenders can offer tailored, short-term solutions that meet these requirements, such as bridging loans. Specialist lenders and mortgage brokers need to work together over the coming weeks to ensure borrowers have access to the finance they need and explore alternative forms of borrowing that can help individuals achieve their home ownership dreams.”