Even as overall mortgage lending levelled off, the number of first-time buyers taking advantage of low house prices and a higher stamp duty threshold increased significantly.
One third of first-time buyers paid no stamp duty during September, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders . The Government increased stamp duty threshold to 175,000 pounds to ease the pressure on first-time buyers looking for mortgage loans . Falling house prices in the last 18 months have brought some properties under this threshold and within reach of first-time buyers.
CML economist Paul Samter reportedly commented: "The stamp duty concession has played a modest role in underpinning confidence in the housing market . As the end date for the stamp duty concession approaches we may see sustained levels of activity at the lower end of the market in a traditionally quiet time. But the corollary will be lower activity in early 2010 as transactions are ‘bunched’ in 2009. Although the recent bounce-back in house purchase activity is holding up we remain some way below what might be called ‘normal’ levels of transactions."
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