Media Release: House-hunters urged to buy now to move before Christmas, and avoid Stamp Duty

HOUSE-hunters need to act quickly if they want to move home before Christmas and avoid extra costs from the re-introduction of the Stamp Duty threshold – say experts, Neilsons.

Says a spokesperson: “With the festive season just over two months away, the ELPG has said that time is running out for canny buyers to secure a property to ensure they can spend Christmas in their new home and steer clear of Stamp Duty burdens.”

And Steve Spence, senior partner at Neilsons, adds: “It takes between five to six weeks to complete a mortgage application and make all of the necessary arrangements required to buy a new home. Therefore, time is running out if you want to ensure that you buy your new property this year and move in before Christmas.

“Likewise, if you have a property to sell, you really have to get it on the market now if you are looking to dovetail your sale transaction with a purchase. Winter is a busy time for the property market and, with buyers likely to be looking to make a quick sale, you should have your home on the market to take advantage of this demand.”

The ELPG, which consists of five of the leading property solicitors in Edinburgh and the Lothians, believes that the Government’s decision to reintroduce the bottom tier of Stamp Duty from January 1st will also help stimulate activity in the market, as buyers try to avoid the charges by securing a home before the deadline.

Angus Macpherson, managing partner with Drummond Miller, said: “As the Government has announced that the Stamp Duty threshold will be coming back into effect on properties that sell for between £125,000 and £175,000, there is an extra incentive for buyers to make their move now.

“From January 1st, buyers will face paying an extra 1% in Stamp Duty on these properties, meaning that they could be forced to spend up to £1750 on top of the price of their new home. Therefore, anyone who wants to avoid this charge needs to act quickly and buy a new property before the end of the year.”

John Lints, senior partner at the Lints Partnership, added: “It’s likely that the reintroduction of Stamp Duty will encourage a lot more activity in the property market this winter.

“Sellers know that there will be a lot of potential buyers looking to avoid paying Stamp Duty over the next few months, and this may encourage them to try for a quick sale. After all, it makes sense for them to try to ensure they sell their home before the end of the year, rather than risk the buyer losing interest after Stamp Duty comes back into effect.

“We’ve seen growing confidence in the property market in recent months. Sales volumes and house prices are up on their figures from last year and the conditions are still very good for would-be buyers.

“If you have the funds in place to make a purchase, you should look to do so now to secure a new home at a good price.”

* The ELPG consists of five of the leading property solicitors in Edinburgh and the Lothians, including Warners, Neilsons, Drummond Miller, the Lints Partnership and Leslie Deans & Co. The group currently accounts for more than a quarter of all sales in the ESPC.

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