The Government has attacked the Council of Mortgage Lenders for using “questionable” data in its first-time buyer statistics.
The Treasury says it does not recognise any correspondence or messages from the CML about FTBs that are gathered by the trade body because over one fifth of those classed as FTBs by the CML are not actually FTBs.
Many are returners to the house-buying market that may have rented for a short period, been abroad or stayed with friends and family after a divorce. Many are also those buying second homes.
The row comes after Money Marketing reported earlier this month that the definition of a FTB used by the CML is anyone buying a property but not simultaneously selling one. The CML responded by clarifying its statistics in a press release.
This week, the CML revealed huge regional differences in the payment of stamp duty by FTBs.
But the Treasury is taking no notice. A spokesman says: “We do not recognise the CML’s FTB data. As the CML itself explains in its latest newsletter, its research is based on a questionable definition of a FTB.
“The fact is that as a result of threshold increases made by the Chancellor less than half of first time buyers pay stamp duty.”
The CML responds: “The Treasury chooses to ignore the key point we were trying to make. All home-buyers, whether they are new entrants, returners or existing owner-occupiers, are paying increasing amounts of stamp duty.
“If the Treasury doesn’t recognise our data, what is it using? Ours is exactly the same as the FSA’s and uses exactly the same definition as the FSA.”