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End of stamp duty holiday a ‘tragedy’

End of stamp duty holiday a ‘tragedy’

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 30/03/2012
First Published: 30/03/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The decision to bring the stamp duty holiday to an end has been labelled a 'tragedy' by estate agents.

Any faint homes of the initiative being extended past the 24 March deadline were extinguished after the Chancellor failed to mention the scheme in last week's Budget.

Before the end of the holiday, a 1% tax on properties worth between £125,000 and £250,000 had been waived for first time buyers.

Figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) show property sales rose to their highest level in four months during February, with first time buyers making the most of the tax holiday.

The number of sales made at member branches increased across the UK . While there was some regional fluctuation, an average of seven sales were recorded per branch for the month, up from six in January and the highest figure since October 2011.

The proportion of sales made to first time buyers remained on par with January at 23%, with estate agents citing the imminent end of the stamp duty holiday for properties under £250,000 as a key reason for continued buyer interest from this section of the market.

"These latest figures show that there is demand for property, especially at the lower end of the market, which, if supported in the right way can lead to increases across supply and sales," NAEA President Wendy Evans-Scott said.

"It is a tragedy to see that the stamp duty exemption has now been removed. Not only that, but the Chancellor's Budget announcement last week that a 7% tax rate at the upper end of the market is to be introduced, hits house-hunters at both ends of the spectrum.

"The fragile housing market needs all the assistance it can get to generate sustained growth, but the Chancellor's current policy will certainly dampen hopes of a rapid recovery."

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