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Warning that end of Stamp Duty break could snare buyers

More on that Stamp Duty holiday, due to end on December 31.

Industry figure Trevor Kent is alerting agents to be careful about advising buyers regarding the deadline.

He said that for buyers hoping to escape the tax, it will not be enough to have exchanged on properties by that date.

To avoid paying Stamp Duty on properties costing between £125,000 and £175,000, Kent says that buyers must have actually completed, and that the 'critical moment' for escaping the tax is not exchange but legal completion.

He says: “Mistiming could be expensive, especially for first-timers.

“With solicitorsand lenderslikely to be closed from December 23 to January 4, this means completions will have to be scheduled, at the latest, for the week before.

“The problem will come where upward chains of sales are involved, as more expensive sales will see no cash benefit for them from rushing the completion in their busy run-up to Christmas

“There is also concern that banks and building societies will not have sufficient funds available to meet abnormally high concentration of completion calls in the weeks before Christmas,” says Kent.

“All the more reason for buyers to line up their conveyancers and mortgage lenders in good time to avoid a Stamp Duty shock.”



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