Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced in his budget speach today that the stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 will be extended from March 31 to June 30. However, from July 1 the holiday will only apply to properties up to £250,000 until the end of September.

This means that the maximum saving for buyers from the start of July until the end of September will be just £2,500 - sizeably less than the £15,000 saving possible under the current holiday, which continues until the end of June.

As yet, no further details have been released on whether these dates will end with the feared 'cliff edge' or will be tapered to avoid a last minute disappointment for some buyers.

In his announcement this afternoon, Sunak said: "The cut in stamp duty I announced last summer has helped hundreds of thousands of people buy a home and supported the economy at a critical time. But due to the sheer volume of transactions we're seeing, many new purchases won't complete in time for the end of March."

Chancellor Sunak has also confirmed that there will be government-guaranteed 95 per cent mortgage loans available from next month, on the purchase of properties up to the value of £600,000.