Estate agents warn government that rumours of a stamp duty holiday has caused more uncertainty in housing market

Housing sales are being hit by uncertainty over stamp duty according to a survey of estate agents.

Since speculation started last week over a possible stamp duty holiday 24% of estate agents questioned by the National Federation of Property Professionals said sales had fallen. Chancellor Alistair Darling refused to rule out a suspension of stamp duty as part of a range of measures to aid economic recovery.

Housing market in trouble

Currently, buyers of properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000 pay 1% in stamp duty at the time of sale, with those spending over £250,000 paying 3%, and 4% for purchases above £500,000.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, said: “Drastic action is needed in order to get the cogs whirring in the market place again. If this suspension does occur then it will provide a much needed boost to consumer confidence."

“However, while this indication that the government may scrap stamp duty is positive, clear and immediate decisions in this area need to be made."