Covid restrictions have created a ‘lottery’ for homebuyers

Covid restrictions

High volumes along with operational challenges created by Covid have pushed up the time taken for a home purchase

Covid-19 restrictions on the industry have created a lottery for homebuyers hoping to complete before the 31 March deadline, according to the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC), the Conveyancing Association (CA) and the Bold Legal Group (BLG).

At the minimum, there should be a tapering to the end of the temporary tax break, the group said.

High volumes combined with operational challenges created by Covid have pushed up the time taken for a home purchase.

It is feared many buyers who had hoped to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday could now end up being stung with bills worth thousands of pounds.

The third lockdown and extremely difficult market conditions provide an even stronger argument for the chancellor Rishi Sunak to take action, the conveyancers said.

Simon Law, chair of the SLC said: The spike in coronavirus infections and the third lockdown have created ever greater problems for home buyers and all the professions and industries serving them.

With visits to properties becoming increasingly difficult, people having to revert to homeworking, consequent delays in procuring property searches, mortgage offers, mortgage redemption figures, leasehold information and property valuations, progressing transactions has become a nightmare for conveyancers, he said.

Significant delays to completing home purchases are inevitable, and there is no certainty for home buyers of completing by the March deadline to benefit from the stamp duty holiday, Law said.

Lloyd Davies, operations director of the CA, added: The level of property market activity is good for the economy but, compounded by the effects of coronavirus, has created a potentially very expensive lottery for home buyers in respect of benefiting from the SDLT holiday.

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