House completions up with stamp duty holiday to close

A leading Belfast property lawyer has said that locals in the process of buying a new home, should plan to agree the purchase by the end of July to ensure they have the best chance of availing of the £250,000 stamp duty holiday before the threshold changes again at the end of September.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 6:00 am

Janet Williamson, Director of Commercial and Property at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors has said that current levels of residential conveyancing in the market are up by around 100%, and with the process taking up to 10 weeks on average, people are seeking to expedite the sale process to ensure they complete before the cut off date of September 30.

She continued: “Despite the challenges of Covid over the past year there has been strong momentum in the local housing market.

“Levels of completions are at a point not seen for over 10 years with demand continuing to outstrip supply which has undoubtedly been buoyed by the stamp duty holiday.

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Janet Williamson, Director of Commercial and Property at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors

“For clients we are representing we are working to ensure where possible they can avail of this significant saving.

“With so many parties involved in the process we would encourage those beginning their house selling or buying journey to instruct their solicitor as soon as they put their house on the market or agree a house to buy, and not just the estate agent.

“If they wait until they are sale agreed before contacting a solicitor in a sale, they are already behind the curve.”

From July 1 to September 30 the threshold for anyone buying a residential property will drop from £500k to £250k unless you are a first-time buyer in which the amount will revert back to the £300,000 cap which was in place prior to the holiday.

“It’s also crucial to have all your documentation in place and make sure you know how much you can borrow with ideally an offer in principle”, continued Janet.

“I would also encourage any first-time buyers to seek advice on what they can afford as the threshold is different for them and to ensure they meet the definition of first-time buyer.

“All buyers must be ready to negotiate and know how high they can go as there is still quite a bit of bidding going on in certain prime areas such as South & East Belfast, Lisburn and along the North Coast.

“Also remember that stamp duty is based on the day of completion so being in contract isn’t enough, you have to have actually completed in order to avail of the saving.”

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