Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Easier to Step on Housing Ladder

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Easier to Step on Housing Ladder

Article excerpt

Struggling first-time buyers were yesterday offered a boost by Gordon Brown.

Another pounds 970m is to be made available for shared equity schemes announced in the Pre-Budget statement last autumn, to help 35,000 more buyers.

A pilot scheme is to be launched which will require home buyers to be responsible for financing just 25% of the cost of a property ( instead of the initial 75% stated by Mr Brown ( with housing agencies providing the balance.

The scheme is seen as particularly valuable in helping key workers find homes near their work, such as schools and hospitals.

However, the Chancellor only decided to up the threshold for stamp duty by pounds 5,000 to pounds 125,000.

He said the move, combined with last year's measure which saw the level at which the tax becomes payable doubled from pounds 60,000 to pounds 120,000, would mean 400,000 homebuyers would now not have to pay.

But Stephen Leonard, director of mortgages at Alliance & Leicester, said: "Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it represents only a 4% increase. …

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