There is still time for first time buyers in the UK to beat the March stamp duty holiday deadline, it is claimed.
But those wishing to do so need to move quickly if they want to beat the fast approaching 24 March cut off date currently available on properties worth up to £250,000.
Brought into effect last year, it was hoped the stamp duty holiday would help get the market moving, but it seems not to have provided enough necessary relief for those hard pressed to get onto the property ladder.
Despite that, those who are currently trying to take that first step or have done so and are waiting to complete, should do all they can to ensure they don’t miss out on a saving of up to £2,500, according to Douglas Sleaper, group sales director of Townends estate agents.
‘There is still time for first time buyers to benefit from the stamp duty holiday but this is reliant on ensuring that the mortgage broker, both parties solicitors and the owner are all in agreement and aware of the timeframe in order to prioritise the case. It is also dependent on the type of property being purchased and subject to the sale not being part of a long chain which may cause unforeseen hold ups,’ he said.
‘The simpler the transaction, the more chance there is of a successful outcome. For example, purchasing a leasehold flat is likely to take longer than buying a freehold house because in addition to the standard formalities, the managing agent will also have to be contacted for information on maintenance of the building and the lease will need to be looked at by a buyers solicitor, both of which will take more time,’ he explained.
Sleaper advises first time buyers to ensure they use a solicitor that is able to devote enough time to push things along.
‘This may not necessarily mean finding the cheapest but taking the view of the stamp duty cost saving, it is probably worthwhile. Similarly, when it comes to finding a mortgage broker, you want one who will be able to place you with a lender that will get you an offer as quickly as possible,’ he said.
‘Again, this may not always mean getting the lowest rate as the best deals may have longer processing times, but a decent mortgage broker will have specialist knowledge and advise on the most cost effective deal in the shortest timeframe,’ he added.
Haart estate agents said it has seen a last minute surge of interest from first time buyers looking to buy before the deadline.
‘Our applicant levels have gone through the roof since Christmas and show no sign of slowing down, particularly among first time buyers,’ said Russell Jervis, managing director of Haart .
‘The news that the stamp duty relief is to end has really focused their minds and we’re see lots of people contacting us keen to move into their first home, particularly at the lower end of the scale, namely the sub £150,000 market. Although the deadline is fast approaching, there is still time for first time buyers to work with their local Haart branch to find the right first home for them,’ he added.