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A property search firm is urging home seekers not to be slow in taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday as the housing market boom continues.

The government has temporarily increased the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland, until 31 March 2021, to help buyers who have taken a financial hit because of the coronavirus crisis and boost the property market. This saving represents up to £15,000 for a property purchase of £500,000 or more. 

X-Press Legal Services provides property searches and reports which are at the heart of all property transaction processes related to local authority, property, and environmental issues.  

The firm which has seen a surge in demand for property searches, fears that consumers may not fully realise the timescales involved to ensure that they are able to make savings on stamp duty. 

Russell Lister, Director from X-Press comments: “With the HM treasury estimating that nearly nine out of ten people getting on to or moving up the property ladder will make savings we know that the holiday scheme is a positive for both buyers and sellers.

“However, we’re urging home seekers not to underestimate the time it can take to complete a property transaction.  The conveyancing process takes around 12-16 weeks. It is possible to get it done in as little as a month, but various things can delay the process.  Consumers need to ensure that they can take full advantage of the stamp duty holiday which officially ends on 31 March 2021 – the sooner you start the property transaction process the better chance you have of not paying the 3% tax.”

X-Press provides around 400,000 search reports to conveyancing solicitors each year but has just seen its best September on record with a 53% increase in instructions compared to September 2019 as the housing market has reawakened with vigour post-lockdown.

Russell continues: “Because of COVID-19 we have been forced to spend much more time in our homes than ever before.  Many will have found that our house is no longer the home we now need with changes in flexible working and social distancing.  Also, people have had the time to research their next property, so we’re not surprised that there has been a recent surge in search reports.”

A property that has a sale agreed now is unlikely to complete before Christmas so from a buyer perspective, it’s time to act quickly!

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Sarah Canning

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