Estate agents are being warned not to enable buyers to rush through house purchases in order to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of the month.
Homebuyers are in a rush. There is so much competition on the market and so few homes to go around, especially in the nation’s rural and regional locations where house prices have risen more so than in any of our major cities.
Competition is so fierce that many buyers are paying well above the asking price just to ensure they can beat their rivals. The situation in America is even worse, with some buyers paying $1 million over the asking price.
And now that the stamp duty holiday is coming to an end – the process of tapering it out will begin at the end of this month – buyers are in even more of a hurry to complete purchases in time to take advantage of the significant tax break.
The bad news is, estate agents are being warned not to allow buyers to rush their purchases because there is far too great a risk that vital checks and measures will be missed.
Estate agents would normally be in the best decision to drive a sale through quickly, such is their knowledge of how the whole process works, but as the deadline approaches, there are “real concerns that mortgage applications and contracts may be rushed through, providing opportunities for criminals and fraudsters to take advantage of a system under pressure”.
This is according to Martin Cheek, Managing Director of SmartSearch, who also alludes to the increased levels of fraud and money laundering attempts the industry has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only is there an increased risk of fraud, but rushing through sales can also increase the likelihood of sales falling through before completion. When so many sales are tied up in long, delicate chains, if just a handful of them fall through, it could be devastating for hundreds of buyers and sellers up and down the country.
For buyers who are desperate to beat the deadline, an agonising final few days await, with nerves only added to now that agents might be more reluctant to rush deals through.