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PKF says new Stamp duty measures are welcome but not enough

The package of new measures introduced by the Government to ease current challenges in the housing market will help some first-time buyers make the leap on to the property ladder, but will not get the market moving, says Peter Harrup, Tax Partner at PKF East Anglia.

'The package recently announced is welcome, but does not go far enough,' says Mr Harrup who is based in Ipswich and who works for the accountants and business advisers, which has offices in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

He says: 'The extension of the nil-rate band for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential property from £125,000 to £175,000 will help some across the country, but exempting properties up to £250,000 would have had much more of an impact.

'The extension will encourage more shared-equity schemes with the percentage share bought by first-time buyers having a value of around £170,000, especially as the Government's new HomeBuy Direct scheme, worth £300 million, aims to help up to 10,000 first-time buyers.

'It is just unfortunate that the scheme has the same name as the ill-fated Homebuy Direct Ltd - the company which owned Farepak, the Christmas hamper company, and went bankrupt two years ago. I hope this HomeBuy Direct fares better.

'House builders are increasingly turning to shared-equity schemes to help shift their stock of completed properties, but financing such deals themselves puts them under increasing financial pressure. HomeBuy Direct will only help a small percentage of the market so, for the bold, there is considerable scope for venture capital investors to get into this market.'

Mr Harrup concludes: 'Today's measures go some way to helping the residential sector, but the commercial property sector has again been neglected.'

Article by BDO LLP

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