Stamp-duty concessions fail to impress the agents

By Charlie Jacoby, September 5, 2008
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Property commentators have found a focus for their fury over the state of the market. They are heaping their wrath on the government’s “rescue package”, with its £300 million shared-equity scheme and change in the stamp duty threshold to £175,000 for a year. David Bexon, managing director of SmartNewHomes.com says: “The government’s plan does not offer nearly enough to inspire an industry that is in serious need of an immediate confidence boost. The measures will provide only a small reprieve to a small section of the market.”

Robert Bartlett, the chief executive officer of estate agent Chesterton, says the stamp duty change will have “no impact on the London market and provide very little assistance to UK housebuilders, as there are few homes built in this country for under £175,000. To make a real contribution, stamp duty should be withdrawn entirely for at least six months.”

James Hyman, partner for residential sales at estate agent Cluttons, is more positive. He praises the government for resolving the “stamp duty fiasco” and says: “It is a huge relief that the uncertainty surrounding stamp duty has been removed, as rumours of a total suspension of the tax had an immediate and detrimental impact on the whole market. However, the change in the stamp duty threshold to £175,000 offers little benefit to the majority of homebuyers, as it falls far below the average property price in most regions of the country. This proposal is woefully inadequate and the industry deserves more, given the damaging effect of the stamp duty rumour mill.”

    Last updated: 12:45pm, April 22 2009