"The final quarter of 2020 saw a healthy number of property transactions as thousands of buyers capitalised on the Chancellor’s reduction in stamp duty."
Total SDLT transactions in Q4 2020 were 43% higher than in the previous quarter and 14% higher than in Q4 2019, according to the latest figures from HMRC.
The data shows all transactions for stamp duty where the transaction value is £40,000 or above.
Residential property transactions in Q4 2020 were 44% higher than in Q3 2020 and 16% higher than in Q4 2019.
Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at Primis Mortgage Network, commented: “The final quarter of 2020 saw a healthy number of property transactions as thousands of buyers capitalised on the Chancellor’s reduction in stamp duty. Over recent months, lenders and advisers have been working hard to process these cases and help borrowers benefit from the stamp duty holiday ahead of the March deadline, all while continuing to work remotely – something which has been no mean feat.
“Going forward, all eyes will be on the March Budget to see if an extension to the stamp duty holiday is announced. In the meantime, brokers will continue to play a key role in helping borrowers find the best product to meet their particular needs. For this reason, it will be up to lenders, distributors, conveyancers, trade bodies and other key players in the mortgage market to ensure that advisers have the resources and capacity they need to support their clients during this period, regardless of whether the stamp duty holiday is extended or not.”
Rob Barnard, director of intermediaries at Masthaven, added: “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."