Shapps brands Stamp Duty holiday a ‘complete cock-up’
Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps has condemned the Government’s housing reform package as "a mere drop in the ocean", affecting just 17% of all transactions.
“The Stamp Duty announcement turned out to be a complete cock-up. They [the Government] claimed there was a £600m package. Actually, it transpires it is about £150m, because when they claimed that it was going to help half of all transactions, what they were ignoring was the fact that any home between zero and £125,000 already avoids paying Stamp Duty,” he says.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, unveiled the measure as part of a package aimed at encouraging first-time buyers onto the housing ladder.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders today revealed that the number of first-time buyers has hit rock bottom – just 17,300 first-time buyer loans were taken out in July compared with 33,100 in July last year.
The increase in the existing minimum Stamp Duty threshold from £125,000 to £175,000 has been crux of the package but agents have revealed that it has had little impact on sales activity.
Anthony Kerrigan, director of Kerrigans Property Service, says: “It’s seven days since the announcement and I haven’t started interviewing for new staff yet.”
The impact of the measures haves since been overshadowed by the US Government’s decision to take control of US mortgage providers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae while pledging to stump up £110bn to keep them afloat.
“This is far better news for the UK than a cut in Stamp Duty as it gets to the very heart of the problem and should make cash more available to businesses and consumers,” says Robin King, founding director of movewithus.
“Its full impact is yet to be seen, but this single act may be the turning point in the world liquidity problem, which may in turn change the outlook for the market at home.”
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