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Business leaders broadly welcome Stamp Duty decision

"Property investors have been supporting thousands of wannabe first-time buyers who have been unable to afford to buy. With the supply of affordable housing unlikely to meet the rising demand, and the provision of social housing woefully inadequate, rented accommodation will become even more vital to the UK housing market. The vast majority of properties to let would fall under the £250,000 threshold. Extending this stamp-duty tax-break to landlords too would encourage further expansion of the private rental sector to meet the UK’s growing housing needs.”

Rosemary Rogers, Director, reallymoving.com said:

“It is brilliant news that the Chancellor has decided to double the stamp duty threshold to £250,000 for first time buyers, even if it is politically motivated. This new measure will be a much needed helping hand to first-time buyers and a boost to the burgeoning property recovery. Our own research shows that the cost of moving has reduced over the past year, and the additional tax saving from stamp duty could be the incentive needed to keep the lower end of the market moving, in addition to aiding sales for many looking for their next move up the property ladder.”

Stuart Law, Chief Executive of Assetz, said:

“Today’s decision to temporarily eliminate stamp duty costs for properties under £250,000 is great news for first time buyers, whose share of the market I would expect to see grow by at least 10% and which will help underpin the recovery. This will have a positive impact on the property market as a whole in the long term.

Jonathan Moore, director of easyroommate.co.uk, said:

“Removing stamp duty for first-time buyer properties is a welcome step in the right direction – but it doesn’t address the real issue for first-time buyers.  First-timers simply can’t borrow enough cash to buy a home, and are having to save for up to 4 years longer.

“There are other options – options that would cost the Treasury less in lost revenue.  For instance, if the state-backed banks were forced to provide products that take lodger income into account, the average first-time buyer could access an additional £11,000. 

Paul Smith of Spicerhaart said:

"We welcome the news from the government today that first-time buyers will be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties up to £250,000.

"First-time buyers are the lifeblood of the industry and the wider economy. The new stamp duty threshold is set to strengthen the UK property market more so than any other government initiative in the last few years.

"Last year, the government proposed a £50billion rescue package for the property industry, but ministers missed a golden opportunity to create real change by failing to meet the needs of first-time buyers.

"This new measure is of national significance as it will substantially increase the number of first-time buyers coming into the property market, giving the rest of the market a much needed boost and mitigate any negative effects that the recent rise in stamp duty has had after the cessation of the stamp duty holiday.

"The initiative will be particularly helpful to those trying to get on the ladder in London and the South East where property prices are significantly higher than the rest of the country.

"Although this is an initiative that will widen the number of properties within the reach of many first-time buyers, there is still the issue of deposits. The average first-time buyer needs a 15% deposit before they can purchase their property, which is still unaffordable for most. The government should either help decrease the amount of deposit required or assist first-time buyers with finding funding through the lending institutions.

"However, a high level of first-time buyers equals a buoyant housing market and a stronger economy. Today’s proposals are good news for the UK property industry."

Robert Bartlett, Chesterton Humberts’ CEO said:

“A huge proportion of hard working middle England, people who have saved all their lives to own their own homes, will be penalised by the failure of the government to raise the inheritance tax threshold.  The average three bedroom plus detached house in most parts of the country would be valued at over £325,000 and thus subject to inheritance tax.

“I welcome the elimination of stamp duty on properties valued under £250,000 which removes one obstacle to increasing buyer interest but the Chancellor’s plan does not address the other issues blocking first time buyers from home ownership.

“The lack of mortgage finance at all levels of potential home ownership shows little sign of easing, meaning the dreams of thousands of potential homeowners remain just that.

“Increasing stamp duty on homes over £1mn will have a dampening effect across the entire range of the housing market.  Coupled with previous government initiatives such as HIPs, this will inhibit transaction volumes at a time when the economy most needs movement in the housing market.  Increasing home sales boosts the overall economy as new homeowners buy to decorate and furnish their properties.

“In our view, the measures the Chancellor has taken today with specific regard to the housing market will do nothing to assist the country out of its current economic crisis.”

Giles Cook, director, Chesterton Humberts’ Chelsea office comments:

“London families seem to be taking the brunt of the budget pain.  Increasing stamp duty on properties over £1mn penalises those struggling to establish a family home here, where the average house price is over £330,000. 

“Freezing the inheritance tax threshold at £325,000 for the next four years penalises most middle class families in the capital, who have worked hard to own their own homes and who expected to be able to pass the benefits of their efforts on to their families.”

Jo Eccles, property expert and director of London property search company, Sourcing Property said:

“The increase in stamp duty limit to £250,000 won’t have an impact on first time buyers in London in my opinion – they are struggling to raise the 25% cash deposit now required to purchase a property with a cheap mortgage rate, so access to mortgages and funding is what is required to really make a difference.

“On average, approximately 50% of our clients are looking to buy a property in the £1m and above price bracket.  We anticipate a sense of urgency for those looking to buy or sell in this price bracket between now and April 2011 when the stamp duty rise comes into force.  Thereafter, I don’t think the increase to 5% will put buyers off, however, they may want to recoup this extra tax by incorporating it in to their negotiations, thus passing the tax onto the vendor.”

Andrew Smith, Research Director at Primelocation.com, said:

“There has already been a lot of noise concerning the new 5% stamp duty rate for properties over £1million. However, a year is a long time in housing and taking a step back casts an entirely different outlook for the property market.

“With the higher threshold not due to come into effect until April 2011, the announcement is in fact likely to act as an immediate stimulus to the market. Activity will pick up among high end buyers and sellers, keen to avoid the higher levy or ensure that they are not forced to drop their asking price if their home is valued on or just above the threshold.

“Come April 2011, a new Budget by a new Government may have erased the current top threshold stamp duty plans, and if it has not, the initiative is only due to last a year. Depending on how well the property market is recovering twelve months from now, the measure may be seen as unnecessarily detrimental to middle class homeowners and the health of a wider economic revival.”

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