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Budget 2009 REACTION: RICS praises housing measures

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has said chancellor Alistair Darling had recognised the need to support the housing market in order to help Britain’s economic recovery.

RICS director of external affairs Gillian Charlesworth said: “Extending the stamp duty holiday may help some buyers who do now seem to be entering the market but will only have a major impact if steps to increase levels of mortgage lending are also effective.”

RICS said that HomeBuy Direct had proved popular with house builders, mortgage lenders and first time buyers.

Ms Charlesworth added: “The Government is right to use this as a way of helping buyers who are suffering as a result of restrictions on mortgage lending.

“Although the money is welcomed it must be accompanied by better marketing of the scheme, possibly through high street estate agents.”

She added: “A Government backed guarantee mechanism is a welcome, although long overdue, intervention to help address this problem.

“This should allow the recent increase in buyer inquiries to translate into an increase in sales.

“Funding to restart stalled housing projects is essential if the number of homes built is to rise from current record lows.

“Completing partly built developments can have an immediate impact on both housing supply and in keeping skilled workers within the industry as they will” not have to go through long and costly planning processes.

“A detailed reading of the Budget report section on housing indicates that Government plans to work with the sector to identify a regulatory and policy framework to support its long term housing objectives.

“This promising statement suggests that Government is keen to address the current inconsistencies in regulation of the property market and the lack of joined up policy on regulation of property services.”