Budget day has been announced for March 11. Will the Chancellor go ahead with the 3 percent surcharge on non-resident properties? Will he realise the Prime Minister’s pledge of removing the stamp duty (SDLT) burden from buyers of properties below £500,000? What about the possible cut in the current 10% paid between £925,000 and £1,5m to 7%?
Last year, 88% of all property sales were below £500,000. If you head to the North East, this increases to a massive 99%. In London, it is only 55%. If the mooted cuts are adopted almost 750,000 people would have paid nothing at all and thousands would be paid much less.
If you believe that there will be cuts then it would be worth holding off on your completion until after the budget. You should still carry on with the usual requirements such as getting your mortgage or having your property surveyed.
If you are not a UK resident, you could hedge your bets by completing before March 11.
But what if you exchange before and complete after? Legally it is the rules at completion that apply but historically buyers have been able to take advantage of the reduced rate if they are adversely affected.