Homebuyers have been warned if they want to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday which ends March 2021, they must begin the house buying process by 1st November 2020.
Increased activity in the housing market since it reopened has left lenders, solicitors and surveyors with a backlog of cases which are causing delays to the house buying process.
According to the Legal & General Mortgage Club (a platform that hundreds of mortgage brokers use to search and place mortgages), a survey with housing market stakeholders including estate agents, surveyors, conveyancers and housebuilders asked them to give an estimated timescale for a typical house sale/purchase transaction, given the current delays and results suggest people wanting to sell and purchase another property will need to allow 4 months for the transaction to complete.
Prior to the pandemic a typical timescale from mortgage application to mortgage offer with straightforward circumstances took 2 weeks.
Advisers have found the process is taking longer since the market re-opening one third said it is taking 3-4 weeks with a further third saying it is taking 4-8 weeks.
Buyers with an impaired credit history or those that had been furloughed, the process is longer and taking 6-8 weeks to be approved for a mortgage.
Estate agents said: “the average time from receiving an offer on a property to completion has increased by 8 weeks”.
Conveyancers suggest that the time from offer to exchange of contracts is now taking 3 weeks and 1-2 weeks between exchange and completion.
For buyers with more complex requirements the whole process could take 15-17 weeks.
Prospective buyers should be aware that the timescale given does not include the holiday season or the impact of a possible 2nd lockdown.
We suggest that the stamp duty saved offset by inflated prices paid right now, could be wiped out if, as predicted, property prices slide in a 2021 recession and house price correction. For some, it may be beneficial to have missed the deadline.