Beware stamp duty holiday ‘postcode lottery’, landlords warned

Landlords should think carefully about the location of their next purchase to avoid the rush of residential buyers trying to beat the stamp duty deadline.

Despite the tax holiday having been extended until the end of June, buy-to-let broker Mortgages for Business reports that many lenders are currently struggling to get mortgages approved where local authorities – often hit by pandemic-related staff shortages – are dragging their feet, with some taking more than 100 days to conduct property searches.

Hacked Hackney Borough Council’s is the worst offender (180 working days), along with Bedfordshire Council (65 working days), Caerphilly County Borough Council (60), Cambridge City Council (50), and North Warwickshire (50).

Mortgages for Business director Jeni Browne suggests that thinking about the effect a local authority could have on a purchase might ease landlords’ headaches. 

Turn of century!

“One search we ordered recently took 145 days to complete,” she says. “If you are considering purchasing a property in Hackney before the turn of the next century, you may want to rethink.”

The broker also advises investors to be prepared to rethink the type of property they’re targeting as well as considering using a portal to reduce waiting time.

It adds that it takes less time to process applications if they’re done via portals, with average deadlines cut from 73 working days to 53 – reducing the time it takes to process a transaction by 27%.

Its research has also found that transactions can take 11% longer if the property in question is a flat, rather than a semi-detached house.

Browne says: “Even if you’re not trying to hit the stamp duty deadline, you may well find that your deal gets caught in the crossfire. Picking a semi-detached house, rather than a flat will help smooth the way.”

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