It was only yesterday I was writing about the way the possibility of a holiday on stamp duty payment had been put about. I usually listen to the review of the daily papers each morning on Radio 4 and I think it was 'The Sun' a few days ago that ran the story that the government was looking at deferring payment of stamp duty in order to reinvigorate house sales. In these particular circumstances I'm sure that it is the new necessity of finding a substantial deposit in order to get a mortgage that is hitting sales more than anything else. However I was very concerned about the way talk of alteration to the stamp duty regime was taking place without any information as to when a decision would be made.
So this evening, half way through the six o'clock news there was a substantial item about the uncertainty and how it was affecting potential buyers and estate agents alike. To me, a perfectly average sort of bloke, it was so patently obvious that we were in limbo land and that those affected wouldn't know whether they should proceed or not. That was the gist of the BBC's story, they interviewed estate agents and had been showered with emails on the subject and everyone was just asking the chancellor to make a decision.
We all know that the government are under tremendous pressure to help "hard pressed families" and will have to be seen to be doing something over the next few months to alleviate the burden. Knowing this then are our crass and irresponsible press trying to make up a policy that Mr Darling cannot ignore or has some off the record briefing occurred to suggest that a payment holiday is being considered. Either way the uncertainty is making the mess that is the current housing market much worse than it need be.
To make matters harder for the vendor he or she is now cursed with providing a 'Home Information Pack' or HIP, a financial outlay before they even go to market (actually I believe the rules have now been altered so that you can get your house on the estate agent's books before completion of the HIP). But another waste of money as I see it, it doesn't speed up the process - delays are normally due to dilatory conveyancers or difficulties getting finance.
Another point I want to make is this: will it solely be the decision of the Chancellor as to what happens about the stamp duty. I can't help thinking that the 'First Lord of the Treasury', one G Brown will be having a lot of say in the outcome.