“The 2010 budget has been described as a ‘growth’ budget for the UK economy and certainly, cutting stamp duty for first time buyers under the £250,000 threshold will grow the number of potential purchasers in the lower levels of the housing market, which we hope will feed upwards.
“The difficulties being faced by first-time buyers in obtaining finance and finding the right properties has without doubt had an effect on the buoyancy of the housing market over the last 18 months. Removing stamp duty for first time buyers will be a welcome boost to the property market overall.
“This announcement is particularly pertinent for first-time buyers in the South of the country, specifically London, where previous stamp duty exemptions have created a divide between opportunities for home ownership between first-time buyers in the North and South of the country. We believe the £250,000 level to be more representative of the budget for a first-time buyer across the UK and as such, should have more of a direct affect on market growth.
“However, Hamptons International is disappointed in the increase on stamp duty for £1m+ properties from 4% to 5%. The timing of this announcement is unfortunate, coming on the back of the new 50% tax rate and Hamptons expects that this increase will no doubt dampen demand for £1m+ properties, negatively affecting the stability of higher-value property prices at a time when confidence is returning to all levels of the market. As with the former North / South divide over stamp duty exemptions, the new 5% rate will more adversely affect those with property in the South East of England where property prices are significantly higher.
“Hamptons International has seen demand in the first quarter of 2010 within 10% of peak levels and we believe the government has taken the right step with the new stamp duty exemption level for first-time buyers to ensure a sustainable housing market for the remainder of 2010.”