Government announces an end to stamp duty holiday

THE CHANCELLOR was accused of dealing a blow to first-time buyers yesterday after announcing that the government would not be extending the stamp duty holiday beyond next March.

In his Autumn Statement yesterday, George Osborne said that duty land tax relief “has been ineffective” in increasing the number of first time buyers entering the market.

Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, the property services firm, said the move was “disappointing” and has instead “added another barrier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.”

The industry welcomed Osborne’s confirmation that the government will underwrite mortgages for up to 100,000 buyers, meaning they will only need to pay a five per cent deposit for new-build homes.

Reaffirming announcements made last week, Osborne also said the government would reinvigorate the right-to-buy scheme giving social tenants bigger discounts of up to 50 per cent to buy their own home.

Osborne also plans to kick-start development with the launch of a £400m “Get Britain Building” fund to enable housebuilders to construct up to 16,000 homes.