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First-Time Buyers Issued Warning Over Stamp Duty Discount Deadline

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First-Time Buyers Issued Warning Over Stamp Duty Discount Deadline

First time buyers are being urged to hurry if they want to save on stamp duty, as new analysis has shown that they may not have enough time to complete a housing transaction if they don't get going by the start of November.

While the new stamp duty threshold - which was recently raised to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland - will remain at the current rate until 31st March 2021, experts are warning buyers of a home worth £500,000 or more may not have as long as they think to ensure a £15,000 tax discount.

This is because despite running until March, research from the Legal & General Mortgage Club found people may not have time to sell their homes and find a new property in time unless they begin to act in the next couple of weeks.

Those looking to move house better act quick (Credit: PA)
Those looking to move house better act quick (Credit: PA)
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They found a typical home-buying timeline could last anywhere up to 15 weeks at the moment. Plus, those with particularly complicated requirements may even take 17 weeks.

Examples of this would be mortgage applicants with complex backgrounds, such as individuals with impaired credit histories or those who have been on furlough or have an impaired credit history, who may have to wait longer than usual to land a mortgage payment.

While November 1st might seem pretty premature, it's been suggested to leave Brits with enough leeway should any issues arise.

In fact, 30 percent of advisers asked said the mortgages were now taking three to four weeks before they went to offer, while 32 percent said it could even take four to eight weeks.

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The researchers have also factored in other potential road blocks, like the Christmas holidays, as well as future Covid-19 restrictions, should they come about, and the delay that these could have on the buying and selling process.

People don't have long to save money (Credit: PA)
People don't have long to save money (Credit: PA)

They suggest that buyers may need to start their search for a new home by the start of November in order to ensure they have enough time to sort everything before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end.

Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, told Mirror Online: "Those wishing to take advantage of the holiday will need to plan carefully to avoid missing the March 2021 deadline, particularly if they have their own property to sell first."

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The stamp duty break also offers smaller amounts of money off to people buying homes worth more than £125,000.

Buyers have been flocking to get the best deals while they still can, but after this research, it sounds like the pressure really is on.

However, Johanna Noble, Money Editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, told Tyla that buyers shouldn't rush just to get the discount.

"Buying a property is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, financial decision you will make in your life. So you need to do that when it's right for you, rather than trying to cash in on something like the current stamp duty holiday," she said.

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"While buyers could save on their stamp duty bill at the moment, it's also worth noting that many sellers around the country have also inflated their asking price because of the stamp duty break as they know buyers are desperate to take advantage, so you may not necessarily make a saving at all.

"Plus while mortgages are still cheap, you'll need good credit and affordability scores and a much bigger deposit or equity (15% with many lenders) to get one. And for some, that puts owning their first or next home, beyond their reach."

So, there's a bit of perspective before you go rushing to the estate agent.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Money, Coronavirus

Joanna Freedman
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