Residential law firm Simpson Millar has cautiously welcomed plans to temporarily raise the stamp duty threshold to £500,000, but warned that this will be a bitter blow for those who had already started proceedings pre-lockdown. 

Sarah Ryan, head of conveyancing at Simpson Millar, said it was most likely to affect new-build buyers and those who had been on the cusp of completion at the start of the pandemic.

She therefore urged the government to make the savings retrospective, in order to allow the costs to be recovered.

Has the Chancellor gone far enough?

She said: “We of course welcome the plans announced today to freeze the stamp duty costs on any property up to the value of £500,000 which will not only encourage potential buyers to move on and up the proverbial ladder, but will also help to retain jobs in the real estate sector.

“However, there is no denying that for some, in particular those individuals, couples and families who have managed to complete on the purchase of their home either during lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath, this will come as a bitter blow.

“This is most likely to affect those who have bought a new build property as many of those transactions could go ahead despite social distancing, as well as those who were all ready to finalise proceedings once the rules relaxed last month.

“We would urge the government to make the scheme retrospective so that those individuals can also benefit from the cost savings.”