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Property groups call for UK government to boost real estate market

The Council of Mortgage Lenders is calling for stamp duty to be reformed, more support for property owners who get into difficulty and low cost home ownership schemes to be extended and simplified.

It said during the past year the Government had introduced a range of initiatives to improve the stability of the financial system and to maintain mortgage lending levels but it was still too early to evaluate the impact.

'The forthcoming Budget represents an opportunity for the Government to implement a small number of measures to underpin the housing market and help vulnerable households who fall behind with their mortgage payments,' a spokesman said.

The National Association of Estate Agents believes that help for first time buyers must be a priority at the budget to pull the property market out of its slump and set the country on course for economic recovery.

It has delivered a submission to Downing Street asking Chancellor Alistair Darling to follow its seven point recovery plan when he announces his budget on April 22. This includes the abolition or reform of stamp duty, boosting liquidity to free up lending, improved access to the property ladder for first time buyers, the suspension of home information packs, and help for property owners and tenants to stay in their homes.

'The state of the housing market reflects the overall health of the economy. The Government must take urgent and immediate action to support it,' said Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA.

'The measures proposed today by the NAEA are achievable and practicable and they will help to boost confidence in the market amongst consumers,' he added.