In July 2020, the Chancellor brought in a temporary stamp duty holiday. This eliminated the duty on property purchases below £500,000 and reduced payments on those above this amount by £15,000.
The cut was meant to last until 31 March 2021, to help bolster property sales during the coronavirus pandemic. Significant demand for property did however remain, not least because of changing home needs during the pandemic.
The combination of potential savings from government intervention and a requirement for life changes created a surge in purchases, which is now heading towards a bottleneck. Anyone moving needs to plan carefully.
A prime concern, reported by trade bodies and property companies is the shortage of removals support, which is likely to peak during March.
To protect their customers and staff, removers are taking extra precautions. This can mean managing operations at below maximum capacity, which nobody minds in exchange for safety but the number of possible moves is reduced.
Booking a reliable removals company as early as possible is critical, as is encouraging others to do the same if you are part of a chain. Good liaison between everyone’s solicitors and agents will also assist.
They should be on top of any change in circumstances, including setting a date when all parties can move. This may include an unforseen stay in a property for a while, even though you could and should have moved.
Hopefully a brief period, although keeping abreast of needs for different mortage payments, property insurance, or services will matter. Responsibility for payment on two properties is not impossible if there are delays.
Government intervention in the property market has caused peaks and troughs before. In this case, the scheme is coming to an end at a time the pandemic remains an issue, along with the repercussions of Brexit.
A few MPs have pointed out that the Treasury can ill afford to lose more income but in an online debate, most were in favour of extending the stamp duty holiday. This is the most straightforward way to avoid a slump.
Some households have been better off during lockdowns, with salaries, or furlough payments coming in and lower travel, or social spending. Others however have not been and there is a shared concern over the future.
On balance, further government action may be needed to avoid the collapse of property deals, along with care by householders.
Actions To Take
Removals companies need to follow strict safety guidelines to offer protection but so do those moving. Being aware of guidance on carrying out a move during coronavirus is important and could avoid delays.
An extra effort to stay in touch with everyone involved in a move is equally worthwhile, as are flexibility and planning. Any tradespeople required should be organised well in advance, along with the move itself.
The British Association of Removers recently stated that “….movers have been extremely busy over the course of the last number of months and this trend looks set to continue throughout Q1 of 2021.”
Please give us as much notice as you can and we will work closely with you, to ensure moving day is as memorable and successful as this should always be.