Stamp duty holiday have had landlords snap up properties say Direct Line

According to data from Direct Line – Six in ten multi-property landlords have used the stamp duty holiday to expand their portfolios.

Among commercial landlords this figure rises to 79%, who have added properties since chancellor Rishi Sunak suspended the tax last July.

43% multi-property landlords have invested in properties outside major cities, with 82% of those saying they expect both a large number of renters moving out of cities due to the pandemic and a continued trend towards remote working.

According to the report half of landlords feel the stamp duty holiday has “kept the property market afloat” during the pandemic, while 43% add it has encouraged them to bring forward plans to boost their portfolios.

The tax suspension is due to end on 31 March, but several industry bodies have called for the measure to be extended to at least to cover transactions that have been held up due to social distancing restrictions.

It currently takes 134 days to complete a property purchase in the UK, according to data from online mortgage broker Trussle last month.

The chancellor’s 3 March Budget will be closely watched by the industry for any movement on the stamp duty deadline.

The Direct Line survey says 45% of multi-property landlords fear the end of this tax holiday my hit the value of their portfolios.

It adds, “this is prompting many to take desperate measures to try to get their purchases over the line before the expiration date”.

The survey says 30% of landlords “are prepared to cut corners” to make sure their purchases are completed before the holiday ends.

This includes “taking on aspects of the conveyancing process themselves or even skipping a rigorous property survey”.

Three-quarters of multi-property landlords would pull out of transactions if they did not complete their live purchases before the end of March, the report adds.

Direct Line landlord business manager Jamie Chaplin says: “It’s been encouraging to see the property market so buoyant since the stamp duty holiday was introduced.”

Chaplin adds: “And it’s been interesting to see more landlords invest in rural properties, suggesting they’re responding to the rise of flexible working and the possibility of people leaving major cities to work remotely.”