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Stamp duty holiday: the key timings you need to know

Here’s how to boost your chances of buying a home in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, which ends on 31 March.

Guest Author
Words by: Annabel Dixon


Keen to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and save up to £15,000?

Then you should ideally agree a deal to buy a home before Christmas, according to our latest House Price Index.

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The time it takes between agreeing a sale and completing is normally just under 100 days.

And our research shows that 92% of all sales agreed in November typically complete by the end of March the following year.

This figure drops to 54% for sales agreed in January – and 17% in February.

But this is no ordinary housing market. The sales pipeline is now 50% bigger than a year ago. There are 140,000 more home sales in the system, creating pressure on estate agents, lenders, valuers, conveyancers and other professionals in the housing market.

And this sheer volume of business could lead to the buying timeline increasing in the short term.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: "Those who leave it to January to start their search for a home will be cutting it fine.

"Just half of sales agreed in January will convert into a completed sale by the end of March so those looking to beat the stamp duty deadline will need to be well prepared."

What’s driving the boom?

The pandemic has led many people to carry out a once-in-a-lifetime re-evaluation of their home, and this has been the main driver of buyer appetite.

The stamp duty holiday, which ends on 31 March 2021, is considered more of an ‘added bonus’ for buyers to complete before next April, according to our House Price Index. The temporary tax break means that nearly nine out of 10 property transactions are no longer subject to stamp duty.

How can you improve your chances of beating the stamp duty holiday deadline?

If you’re looking to sell your existing home and move up – or down – the housing ladder before the stamp duty holiday ends, then you’ll need to get prepared well in advance.

You could shave weeks off the transacting timeline by laying the groundwork now. Considerlisting your home for sale_and_signing up a conveyancer at the same time so the property is 'contract-ready' as soon as a deal is agreed, for example.

Donnell explained: “Finding an agent before Christmas and instructing a conveyancer to prepare all the sellers legal information will be essential to boosting the chances of saving up to £15,000.”

And when it comes to finding a home to buy, be sure to check out how Zoopla’s simple tools can supercharge your property search.

From registering to get instant alerts and save property searches, to mapping out the exact area you want to look, our tools will help get you ahead.

For more advice, have a good read of our guide on how to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline.

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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.