As rumours continue to circulate about whether the Government intends to suspend stamp duty, would-be buyers are waiting to see whether putting off a purchase may save them thousands of pounds. Many commentators have observed this state of affairs may be holding the market back from picking up, and calls are being made for the Government to make clear its intentions.

James Hyman, Partner for Residential Sales at Cluttons, said: ‘The lack of immediate, decisive action from the Government following last week’s speculation surrounding the possible scrapping of stamp duty is already having a negative impact on the housing market.

‘We warned that implementation of a stamp duty suspension would need to be pushed through straight away if it was to be successful and avoid bringing further stagnation to the market. The possibility of avoiding this tax is too appealing to home buyers, who are reluctant to fork out tens of thousands of pounds for something they may be able to bypass in a matter of weeks, and as a result some buyers are stalling.
 
‘We have several purchasers who were on the point of exchange before last week’s announcement, but are now unwilling to exchange on their purchase until the stamp duty issue is resolved,’ added Mr Hyman. ‘I urge the Government to either implement this policy now or quash these rumours to avoid exacerbating things further.’

In addition, the National Association of Estate Agents reported that a survey of its members has produced one of the largest responses from estate agents, with over 1350 replies demonstrating what a contentious issue the recent stamp duty ‘announcement’ is and the effect it has had on the property market.

Alarmingly, just a week since the announcement the results indicate that 25% of agents now claim that a sale has fallen through as a direct result of the Chancellor’s comments, whilst a staggering 92% of agents believe the Chancellors remarks have increased consumers’ concerns.