NAEA – CUT RATES FURTHER AND SUSPEND STAMP DUTY
19 November 2008The vast majority of property professionals feel more must be done to boost the flagging housing market.More than half – 54 per cent – of estate agents surveyed said they did not have confidence in current Government policies and that more must be done, including a suspension of stamp duty. In addition, they called on the Bank of England to further cut interest rates.The survey by the National Association of Estate Agents also revealed that consumers are responding to the recession by cutting their asking prices – a difficult decision that is already helping the market.Chris Brown, President of the National Association of Estate Agents, said:“Sellers are beginning to face up to the reality that their houses are not worth as much now as they were 12 months ago. They are ripping up last year’s price tags and beginning to come to terms with the new economic reality.“That is a difficult thing to do - but the silver lining is that the market is now more transparent for buyers. Prices are becoming realistic, and we hope that this provides the boost needed to encourage those families who so desperately want to buy houses to get onto the market.“However, as sellers have bravely accepted the truth of the situation and responded accordingly, so now must the Government and the major lenders. “That is why we are calling for a further cut in interest rates next month, coupled with a clear commitment from the major lenders to pass any cut on to consumers and a suspension of Stamp Duty from Alistair Darling in Monday’s Pre Budget Report. “If hardworking men and women across the country are making sacrifices, the least that they deserve is the banks and Government to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”The poll found that in October the average number of houses sold per estate agent rose from six to seven. The percentage of first time buyers also increased. However, the market still faces considerable challenges. Estate agents reported a seven per cent fall in the number of house hunters on their books.