Property Update: Buying out of duty

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THE rush to beat stamp duty may prove the brightest of housing's many false dawns. More than pounds 50m worth of property valued below the pounds 250,000 duty threshold was sold by the London agents Winkworth in the month running up to the deadline. This compares with less than pounds 30m in the same period last year. But surveys by the National Association of Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors say activity across the country has now fallen away.