Comment: Fingers firmly crossed for stamp duty holiday extension

Thousands of movers are waiting to see if the stamp duty holiday will be extended. 

Thousands of movers are waiting to see if the stamp duty holiday will be extended. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As we trundle through half term, with what's looking increasingly like a matter of weeks before the schools reopen, there's a sense of optimism on this particular home front. 

The temperature's increased a bit beyond freezing, too, meaning the daily slog around the park isn't as much of a moan-fest as it was a week ago. 

In further positive news, it's rumoured that Rishi Sunak is considering extending the stamp duty holiday by six weeks beyond its March 31 deadline. 

A mysterious - and, with any luck, entirely accurate - source told the Telegraph that the Chancellor is keen to help stop established sales from collapsing en masse at the end of next month. 

“A lot of people would be caught in the completion trap if the holiday were to end when it is due to,” the source said.  

Too right - but the Chancellor will need to weigh that up against the further loss of funds an extension would cause. 

After all, the Treasury's coffers have been looking a little light on stamp duty cash following a run of generosity by Sunak: they were down £540m in the last three months of 2020 compared to a year earlier, in spite of a 14 per cent lift in sales. 

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This latest rumour follows a parliamentary debate two weeks ago, in which MPs voiced support for some form of extension to the popular temporary tax break. 

A short extension would realign stamp duty with the government's Help to Buy scheme, which will now end on May 31 after it was last week extended for another two months. 

Nothing has been confirmed yet, however, but movers caught in the current hold up will be pinning their hopes on a lifeline from Sunak, with next month's budget on March 3 being the most likely date for an announcement.

As someone who was very lucky to benefit from the tax break last year, after my own lockdown-addled move was held up at exactly the right time to benefit from it, I've got my fingers crossed for all movers.