Time is running out for homeowners to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday and save themselves thousands of pounds.
Anyone looking to buy a house will have to pay stamp duty as normal after March 31 so will need to act quickly in order to complete a purchase within the deadline.
The Cumbrian housing market has been buoyant since the end of the first COVID-19 lockdown and a rush to meet the stamp duty deadline is expected to create further pressures in the coming weeks.
And with conveyancing for a house sale typically taking between eight to 12 weeks to complete time may be running out for some homebuyers.
From April, homebuyers will pay two per cent stamp duty on properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000 and five per cent on those costing between £250,000 and £500,000 so for many homeowners completing a sale in time will make a big difference.
Aileen Robertson, mortgage product manager at The Cumberland, says people need to leave enough time for the mortgage application and all associated legal work to be completed.
The building society has ensured that is well resourced across its network over the festive period to meet the anticipated demand.
Aileen said: “For us as a lender it is still realistic to be able to deal with applications and get them through our part of the process.
“I think where customers might struggle is with conveyancers and surveyors getting that part of the process done.
“We’ve had feedback from some customers that they are having to wait a bit longer than usual for those types of services, but for us as a lender we are very much open for business and will do our best to push through mortgage applications before the cut off but it is going to start getting quite tight for third parties to play their part in it.”
The building society has ensured it has capacity in branches for mortgages appointments and processing applications.
It has been a busy year for the team already with exceptionally high demand for its 10 per cent deposit mortgages.
This was, in part, due to it being one of the first lenders to reintroduce these products after the first lockdown.
“The festive period is usually a busy time for us because once people have some time at home and Christmas Day is out of the way their thoughts turn to making plans for the new year, so you’ll always see online activity around jobs and homes increasing from Boxing Day.
“Aside from the stamp duty headline there is likely to be quite a bit of uncertainty around the housing market next year especially when we don’t know the outcome of the Brexit deal negotiations.
“There could still be a lag from this year when the market closed down completely which could further boost demand so I can see the predictions of an extra 100,000 homes being sold in 2021 would be a reasonable number, but crystal ball gazing is probably not a good idea at the moment,” Aileen added.