Comment: What does the end of the stamp duty holiday mean for local movers?

MPs will debate the extension of the stamp duty holiday on Monday, February 1.

September 30 is the final day of the stamp duty holiday. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Well, today's the day: the stamp duty holiday is finally over. 

Rishi Sunak's headline-grabbing tax break was introduced in July 2020 as a means of keeping the pandemic-addled housing market on track.

From then until June 30 2021, the first £500,000 of a property purchase was exempt from stamp duty, meaning a saving of up to £15,000.

Not surprisingly, a spike in interest from movers keen to max out their tax savings ensued, with many estate agents and conveyancers reporting epic workloads during the run up to the deadline.

The stamp duty cut off was tapered from July 1, with no tax payable on the first £250,000 – a relatively tiny saving of just £2,500 on a half million pound purchase. 

And, for most buyers in and around St Albans and Harpenden, where property prices are notoriously high, the race to complete suddenly seemed a little less pressing. 

From tomorrow (Friday), buyers in England and Northern Ireland will once more have to pay stamp duty on all property purchases in excess of £125,000 (£300,000 for first time buyers). 

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Experts are divided on how much difference the stamp duty holiday actually made, with other variables, including low interest rates and a shortage of supply also playing their part. 

Anecdotally, I'm certain the June deadline was a motivator for many movers in our area, but whether it actually saved them a solid £15,000, we'll never know. After all, house prices have continued to increase over the past year – up 13.3 per cent in England in the year to June, according to Land Registry data – meaning buying at the top of the market may have outweighed any tax saving. 

So, what next? Will prices dip now there are no bonus savings to be had? In our area at least, I'd wager they'll plateau at best. But only time will tell.