St Albans’ Secret Estate Agent answers all your stamp duty questions

The Secret Estate Agent has the stamp duty changes covered. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Secret Estate Agent has the stamp duty changes covered. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let Hertfordshire’s Secret Estate Agent answer your property questions and give an insight into the world of estate agency...

Have you been swamped with calls from people suddenly wanting to move now the stamp duty threshold has been lifted to £500,000 from £125,000?

The chancellor’s announcement of a temporary stamp duty holiday for homes costing up to £500,000 was a welcome and decisive stimulus for the beleaguered housing market. It certainly wasn’t Rishi washi.

We did receive a number of calls from clients seeking clarification, with one particularly delighted seller currently under offer seeking reassurance she had in effect been gifted £15,000.

We have also seen a number of fresh enquiries across the board as this is in effect a saving for everyone regardless of purchase price. The average house price in St Albans according to Zoopla is £540,000, so this will be of widespread benefit.

Will any stamp duty saving be undone by vendors ramping up their house prices?


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Some sellers may think they can put up prices which could lead to a spike, but then there is a knock-on effect if they have an onward purchase. They can’t have it both ways - although we always like to think we can in negotiations.

Did any of your sales complete just after the announcement? How are those buyers feeling at this point?

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Yes, one particular client had already exchanged and completed last Friday (July 10) and we urged him to double check with his solicitor. Stamp duty is calculated on completion and paid within 14 days. The property they were buying needed updating so a ‘free’ kitchen and bathroom were warmly welcomed. I imagine they are feeling pretty pleased with themselves.

This is all part of the master plan, the savings will potentially boost the economy with additional spending on home improvements. One client had a chain collapse just before exchange a couple of months ago and it is now back together. Ching-ching.

I sold my house in June and am gutted to have missed out on saving £15,000. Can the stamp duty holiday be backdated?

I did read something on this today, but I would be shocked if it was backdated. Decision made and calculations done. I am afraid there are always winners and losers with these emergency policies. It must be infuriating.

Is the chancellor going to save the property market with his stamp duty holiday? Or are we set for certain doom come April when literally no one will want to buy a house?

The government’ s policy is clear: to encourage spending our way out of this hole for a V-shaped recovery. Hopefully by April the economy will be strong enough to support the return of the stamp duty norm.

If I buy a second home will I still have to pay the 3 per cent additional homes surcharge?

Yes, although the new stamp duty threshold will save you money as you will qualify for the exemption and this may lead to more buy-to-let investors returning to the marketplace.

Do you have a question for the Secret Estate Agent? Email jane.howdle@archant.co.uk or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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