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More homebuyers escape stamp duty but the fall continues

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has reported that the government's increase in the stamp duty threshold for property purchases saw a large jump in those who avoid stamp duty on property transactions. The figures indicate that over 50% of buyers did not pay stamp duty in September compared to just 22% in September 2007.

However the housing market is still struggling with home loans down 57% on the same period last year which is an all time low since the introduction of CML records. The number of first-time buyers in September fell to just over 13,000 against just over 28,000 in the corresponding period last year, however there was an increase in first-time buyer enquiries and it will be interesting to see if these are followed through.

A number of analysts are suggesting that the property market in the UK may be about to bottom out although few expect a sharp return to anywhere near former levels. The recent interest-rate reduction has assisted and if the banks follow through with their promise of reduced mortgage rates this will help greatly. Slowly but surely we are starting to see signs that some buyers may well be looking at the market again.

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