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PM launches £1 billion housing package

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From the no.10 website:

The Prime Minster has launched a major Government initiative aimed at making the housing market fairer for all.

The £1 billion Homeowners Support Package includes a one-year holiday on stamp duty for all properties costing £175,000 or less, a move that will see around half of all house moves exempt from duty over the next twelve months. The Government will also extend its shared equity assistance to help more first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

Speaking on a visit to meet first-time buyers in west London, the PM said that homeowners needed to know that the Government would do all it can “to keep the housing market moving”.

He said:

“Help with stamp duty, help for first-time buyers, help to build more social housing, help to take unsold properties off the housing market and help for people who get into difficulties.”

Other measures announced today include the acceleration of £400 million programme to deliver 5,500 new social rented homes and reform of the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme that helps protect the most vulnerable on very low or no incomes.

Launching the package through the Department for Communities and Local Government, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said:

“This Government is committed to practical action to help those most affected by the current state of the housing market. We are working to make sure everyone struggling to pay the mortgage gets support and advice. We are giving a leg-up to first-time buyers keen to own a place of their own.

The Nationwide Building Society’s chief economist Fionnuala Earley was quoted in the Citywire blog as being reluctant to say if the stamp duty holiday would kick-start the housing market.

‘It may have some impact loosening chains at the bottom of the market but it is difficult to know what impact it will have because of consumer confidence and the worsening economy,’ she said.

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