What does the Spring Budget mean for the property market?
A tapered extension to the stamp duty holiday and a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme are among the measures aimed at helping home buyers and sellers delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Spring 2021 Budget.
Here is everything you need to know about today’s property-related Budget announcements.
Stamp Duty Holiday extension
The temporary stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland has been extended by three months.
The extension means if you are buying a home up to the value of £500,000 you will not pay any stamp duty if the purchase is completed by 30 June 2021.
Then, to smooth the transition back to normal, the nil rate threshold will be set at £250,000 until the end of September, before returning to the usual threshold of £125,000 on 1st October 2021.
The news will be a relief to home buyers and sellers who have been desperately trying to get their sale completed in time to meet the previous deadline of 31st March.
There are an estimated 628,000 sales in total still currently in the legal process across Great Britain, including those that were agreed last year and those that have been agreed so far this year.
What do the experts say?
Our resident property data expert Tim Bannister explained that stamp duty holiday extension will make a big difference to home-movers currently stuck in the process.
He said: “This three-month extension will come as a huge relief for those people who have been going through the sales process since last year and were always expecting to make use of the stamp duty savings.
“Our recent data shows one in five sales that were agreed in the same month the stamp duty holiday was first announced in July last year still haven’t completed, so this additional time will make a big difference to help those stuck in the logjam complete their purchase in time before the new end of June deadline.
“Buyers who have recently agreed a sale now have a race on their hands to see if they can also make use of the stamp duty savings, but many with purchases over £250,000 will find that time is too tight to complete before the end of June and so shouldn’t be factoring this into their purchase.
“It’s worth remembering that the average savings vary massively around England, and first-time buyers will still be exempt if they’re buying for £300,000 or less. There are also many other reasons people are choosing to move, evidenced by the strong buyer demand Rightmove has already seen in the first two months of the year.”
What is the mortgage guarantee scheme?
The government has introduced a 95 per cent loan to value (LTV) mortgage guarantee scheme to help buyers with small deposits get on the property ladder.
Under the new scheme, which launches in April, home buyers will be able to purchase homes priced up to £600,000 with a deposit of just 5%.
The Treasury has said it will guarantee parts of the loans on properties worth up to £600,000 in order to encourage lenders to reintroduce low-deposit mortgages.
Low-deposit mortgages have largely been withdrawn by lenders during the coronavirus pandemic, which meant many first-time buyers have faced raising deposits of 15-20% in order to secure a loan.
The Chancellor said many of the big lenders, including Santander, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC are backing the scheme and will be offering “government guaranteed” mortgages from next month.
Our property data expert Tim Bannister said: “We’ve heard from so many first-time buyers over the past year of their challenges to raise a 15% or 20% deposit, with a substantial number saying they had to put their plans on hold, so the availability of 5% deposits will really help this all-important market sector.
“It’s also a helping hand to people who have been struggling to trade up because of the much bigger deposit needed.
“We’ve calculated that over the past five years asking prices of a typical first-time buyer home has increased by £23,000 on average, so those who can now afford to buy a home will be trying to make the move quickly in case prices rise further.”