No big sales bounce before end of stamp duty holiday

This was despite the rate at which Stamp Duty Land Tax applies reverting back to £125,000 from £175,000 at the beginning of January.

A net balance of 18% of respondents to the survey said that transactions levels were down (36% said they were down, 46% said they remained the same and 18% said they were up).

"The seeming lack of impact on sales in the lead up to the end of the stamp duty holiday is not surprising. In parts of Northern Ireland, many first time buyer homes are selling for less than £125,000 anyway. And around 40% of Northern Ireland has a stamp duty threshold of £150,000 rather than £125,000 because they are classed as a disadvantaged area," RICS Northern Ireland spokesman, Tom McClelland said.

"In these areas, with prices where they are now, the holiday was perhaps viewed as largely irrelevant. That said, areas of Northern Ireland with higher prices and which are not designated as disadvantaged areas, will likely see an impact of the ending of the holiday."

With regard to prices, more than two thirds of respondents to the survey (69%) reported stability during the final quarter of 2009, saying that prices had neither risen nor fallen.

Most other respondents (23%) said that prices fell by up to 2% in the period, with others reporting marginal price increases, or larger falls. Looking three months ahead, the net balance re prices is zero, indicating that respondents expect prices to remain stable.

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