SDLT holiday and the positive impact for the property sector

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments on the latest HMRC Quarterly SDLT Statistics:

“With transactions in Q4 2020 16% higher than the same time last year, and the numbers of buyers exempt from SDLT exempt up by a huge 127%, today’s data demonstrates how the Government’s SDLT holiday, alongside a huge shift in lifestyle aspirations, has contributed to the active property market we have seen since the summer.
“As highlighted by members of parliament this week, what we must avoid now, for the property sector and the wider economy, is a cliff edge where all economic support suddenly drops away, especially as we have not yet seen the full economic impact of the virus.
“The present lockdown has created a logjam in the market, exacerbated by procedural delays with mortgages and conveyancing and now vast numbers of buyers are at risk missing out on SDLT relief through no fault of their own. That won’t just impact individuals, but buyers throughout chains, putting a significant number of transactions at risk. Removing support suddenly would also have a ripple effect beyond the property market, as retailers, moving companies, tradespeople and countless others suffer from a reduction in market activity.
“Today’s figures clearly show the positive impact the SDLT holiday has had for the property sector and the UK economy since its introduction. I would therefore urge the Government to consider a more gradual approach to paring back SDLT relief. Doing so will allow transactions to complete as planned in an orderly manner, giving buyers the security they need and ensuring the property market and other interconnected sectors of the economy don’t suffer a sharp shock during one of the most challenging and uncertain periods of the pandemic.”  
Quarterly SDLT Statistics (October to December 2020) 

  • Residential property transactions in Q4 2020 were 44% higher than in Q3 2020 and 16% higher than in Q4 2019
  • Liable residential transactions increased by 37% between Q4 2020 and Q3 2020 (from 81,200 to 111,600). Comparison to Q4 2019 shows a 41% fall
  • Non-liable residential transactions grew substantially in Q4 2020, mainly due to the introduction of the residential SDLT holiday, by 48% compared to Q3 2020 (from 147,700 to 218,300). Comparison to Q4 2019 shows a 127% increase