James Moore: Finance, not stamp duty, is the biggest hurdle

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The Independent Online

Outlook The forthcoming end of the stamp duty holiday appears to have produced something of an uptick in the housing market. Small wonder.

It is true that prices could easily fall over the next few months by enough to mean that those who rushed to beat the deadline for the holiday on properties sold at between £125,000 and £250,000 will actually find that they derived little benefit from doing so.

The holiday really ought to be extended, although that would require a little imagination on the part of the Treasury.

However, the main reason completed sales continue to bump along at just above historically low levels is the lack of available financing for first time buyers.

So far there has been far less pressure on the banks to open their mortgage taps than there has to increase business lending. As a result, the housing market is likely to remain stuck in neutral.

Hopefully those who bought before the deadline have found somewhere they really like. Chances are they will be stuck there for a long time.