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NAEA: RESPONSE TO BUDGET

Commenting on Alistair Darling’s Budget today, Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said:

“The housing market is the engine of the UK economy and it is likely that this Budget will be remembered as largely ineffectual given the magnitude of the problem.

“There is very little here for first time buyers, who need more encouragement to climb onto the property ladder – which will get everything moving.

“Mr Darling has used a water pistol to try to put out a fire.”

On the extension of the £175,000 StampDutyLand Tax threshold, Mr Bolton King said:

“Merely extending the stamp duty threshold is disappointing. Mr Darling had a real opportunity to get rid of this hated tax, which is seen by many as a tax on aspiration. Since the threshold was introduced last Autumn it has helped just one third of first time buyers.

“In this difficult economic time, Mr Darling could have seized the opportunity to encourage first time buyers to the market and to send a signal of confidence that may have reverberated around the economy.

“Instead he has tried to choose a path to please everyone, which I suspect will please no one.”

On the announcement of the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, Mr Bolton King said:

“This scheme has taken months to come to fruition since it was announced last November and thousands of people have had their homes repossessed in the meantime. It is a scheme which is to be welcomed for the support it will give to homeowners.

“However more detail is needed on those major lenders that have not signed up for the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme but have promised to set up similar schemes of their own.”

On the announcement of a package of Government guarantees on more than £50bn of new mortgage backed assets, Mr Bolton King said:

“The National Association of Estate Agents called on the Government to do more to boost liquidity in the market and we welcome this measure.

“Our figures show that there is a huge demand for property that is being frustrated because responsible people do not have access to appropriate levels of finance.

“Hopefully this measure will go some way to alleviate that, and I would just call on the Government to monitor carefully that this measure has gone far enough and step in if it isn’t.”

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