UP to 160,000 more property sales could escape stamp duty if reports that the government may extend the tax break for another six weeks are true, it has been calculated.

The online estate agency Rightmove says an extension to the current cut-off of May 31 could save buyers £1billion in total.

It estimates that between 120,000 and 160,000 property transactions could benefit from the saving, based on the number of sales that were completed each month between September and December in England last year.

The extension would also mean the vast majority of sales that were agreed by the end of 2020 would complete in time to save on stamp duty.

There are an estimated 412,000 sales still currently in the legal process that were agreed last year across Britain. Rightmove estimates that 100,000 buyers who agreed a purchase last year will lose out if the deadline says at March 31.

Tim Bannister of Rightmove said: “We know the stamp duty holiday was intended as a temporary stimulus for the market, but the delays we’ve seen in the home-moving process have been through no fault of the buyers and sellers who agreed a sale last year and who are now desperately trying to get their deals over the line.

“The delays have been a result of the huge number trying to go through, along with the many challenges of the people involved in the process working from home. If there was a six-week extension it should give the majority of the sales from last year the chance to complete in time.”

It has been reported that chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a six-week extension to the tax break, or a compromise that would allow previously agreed sales to complete without stamp duty.