Brown snubs home owners

Chancellor Gordon Brown ignored home owners\' pleas last week after he made no changes to the Stamp Duty thresholds in his 11th Budget.

For three years, Mortgage Strategy has called on the chancellor to raise the Stamp Duty thresholds in line with rising house prices.

But Brown failed to address the fact that there has been a shocking 281% increase in the number of properties valued above the 250,000 Stamp Duty threshold in the past five years.

Halifax says the number of residential property sales attracting at least 3% Stamp Duty increased from 73,403 in 2001 to 279,408 in 2006.

The chancellor allowed some Stamp Duty breaks. As expected, carbon-neutral homes above 500,000 will be exempt from the tax until 2012.

Brown is also allowing people exchanging homes with family members to only pay the respective market value Stamp Duty on the individual properties rather than both parties paying Stamp Duty based on combined value.

Duncan Berry, director of mortgage sales at GE Money Home Lending, says: “Research shows three in four Britons wanted Stamp Duty bands modernised in this year’s Budget.

“House price inflation remains a concern for everyone, particularly first-time buyers, so it is disappointing that this year’s Budget has not addressed Stamp Duty thresholds.”