First-time buyers face

The chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement today that the government will not be extending the stamp duty holiday beyond next March.

Peter Spencer, chief economist to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club, is reported in the Guardian as saying: "One area where the chancellor fell short of expectations was making the housing market more accessible to first-time buyers. The stamp duty tax relief will end in March 2012 as planned and there were no further measures along the lines of guaranteeing bank loans to first-time buyers."

Adrian Coles, director-general for the Building Societies Association, is reported in the FT Advisor as saying: "Today's announcement provides an additional barrier that first-time buyers need to overcome and despite the recent, welcome housing strategy announcements, it feels as though the government is giving with one hand while taking away with another."

Paul Smee, director-general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, is reported on FT.com as saying: "It is likely that we will see a bunching of eligible first-time buyer transactions early next March to beat the expiry date on the concession."

In the meantime, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicts receipts for stamp duty land tax will almost double in the next six years, rising from £6bn received in 2010/11 to a projected £11.4bn in 2016/17.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, as putting it another way, first-time-buyers can now save £2,500 if they complete their house purchase before 24 March 2012.