The National Association of Estate Agents believes the Chancellor's freezing of stamp duty at current levels is effectively a rise.
In response to the Chancellor's Budget speech, NAEA chief executive Peter Bolton King says with inflation at 2.4 per cent and house prices continuing to rise annually, Gordon Brown is effectively increasing the number of homebuyers who are now liable for this tax.
He says figures from the Inland Revenue reveal £3.59billion was raised from stamp duty in 2003/2004, up 330% compared to £830million in 1999/2000.
Bolton King says: “The Government has once again ignored calls from the NAEA along with the rest of the property industry and the general public to bring stamp duty rates and thresholds in line with the housing market in the 21st century. Major adjustments are needed to these levels to ensure the tax is a fair one and remove what is now a serious barrier to first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder.”