Gordon Browns decision to abolish stamp duty on all property transactions in deprived parts of the UK has been branded a "cheap give away" by industry sources.
The Treasury claims dropping stamp duty will revive depressed property markets and encourage families to live in disadvantaged areas.
But mortgage experts say few houses in such areas would be worth over £60,000, the minimum a house must cost to incur stamp duty.
They fear regions the Treasury exempts from the tax will become stigmatised, leaving existing homeowners in these regions unable to sell their house.
Observers say the real beneficiaries of the new rules will be landlords, who will be able to buy properties in depressed areas at a cheaper rate than before.
The budget helps them do this by introducing a 5 per cent reduced rate of VAT for the cost of converting residential properties into a number of dwellings.
London & Country mortgage specialist David Hollingworth says: "Id like to know just how many properties in these areas come within the stamp duty band. Its a green light for landlords and developers to get stuck in."