Sunak’s stamp duty holiday extension has merely inflamed the housing market

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Throwing money at an already heated market looks nonsensical and could lose the Treasury £2bn

Surprise, surprise. Presented, or so they thought, with an end-March deadline to save a few thousand pounds on stamp duty, buyers rushed to complete their house purchases. Mortgage lending in the month reached a new record.

It requires no imagination to see what will happen in June, the extended deadline for the £500,000 zero band on stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland – an extension announced very late in the day by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in his March budget. There will be a repeat. Then the drama will be replayed in a miniature form in September as buyers try to get on the right side of the taper from £250,000 to £125,000.

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