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Stamp duty freeze won’t be extended

I wrote about how the end of the stamp duty freeze might affect house prices and sales last week.

At the time of writing, there was very much uncertainty around whether or not the freeze might be extended.

But it seems the government had already responded, via a petition to parliament.

On 10 December, HM Treasury wrote: “The SDLT holiday was designed to be a temporary relief to stimulate market activity and support jobs that rely on the property market. The Government does not plan to extend this temporary relief.”

It added: “When the SDLT Holiday ends, the Government will maintain a SDLT relief for first time buyers which increases the starting threshold of residential SDLT to £300,000 for first-time buyers that purchase a property below £500,000. In addition, a new Help to Buy scheme will be introduced from 1 April 2021. This scheme will run until March 2023.”

I talked about that on Times Radio with Calum Macdonald this week (as usual, I’m in the business segment about 10 minutes from the end).

People are still hopeful of course. Once the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the government will have to debate the issue in Parliament, which may well trigger a U-turn.

There’s also hopes that because the next budget is before the end date for the stamp duty freeze, Rishi Sunak may well change his mind – as he has done for the now extended (again, again) furlough scheme.

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