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BUDGET 2008: Smoke and mirrors from Darling

Connells Survey & Valuation has slammed today’s Budget as nothing more than smoke and mirrors, and is calling for the government to take considered action to rebuild the housing market.

Ross Bowen, managing director of Connells, says: “This budget is all smoke and mirrors. Darling has failed to deliver anything which will have a noticeable impact on our severely weakened housing market – borrowers looking to buy now aren’t going to benefit from this review at all.

“The government is ignoring the perilous situation in the housing market completely. We needed to see decisive action in this budget to address the lack of confidence in the market – what a wasted opportunity.”

Bowen points out that long-term fixed rates are already available to borrowers but they choose not to take them.

He says increasing the choice of long-term fixed rate mortgage products will not encourage borrowers to fix for two decades.

He also says that Stamp Duty relief for those in equity share schemes will have virtually no impact on the vast majority of first-time buyers.

Bowen says the take-up rate for these schemes has been “shamefully” low so far and he wonders how this represents an effort to get first-time buyers on to the property ladder.

He adds: “Darling’s focus on this dodges the real problems in the mortgage market – rates are too high for borrowers to afford and tightened criteria means limited access to funds for those with poor credit histories.

“Most homebuyers have been left with scant relief from this budget. The government must rethink and come up with more immediate action to rebuild the market.

“The Monetary Policy Committee must support the housing market with a further base rate cut in April.”

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