Housing experts are calling on the government to extend its stamp duty concession for first time buyers (FTBs).
The temporary tax exemption for FTBs purchasing homes worth up to £250,000 is due to end next month.
After that, buyers will be asked to pay tax starting at 1% on properties purchased for £125,000 or more.
The tax rate for properties worth over £250,000 will be unchanged at 3%, while for those worth between £500,000 and £1m it will be 4%. Last year a new 5% band was introduced for properties worth more than £1m.
Experts are calling on the government to extend the FTB concession.
Bernard Clarke at the Council of Mortgage Lenders said: "With FTB purchases having slumped by almost two thirds in the last decade, the cost of extending it would be relatively small.
"But it makes a big difference to individual buyers at a time when confidence is fragile. We are concerned that it may result in a decline in first-time buyer activity in the spring when we would normally hope to see it pick up."
Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, added: "It is vital any support for this fragile part of the market is not removed. The government should be doing everything it can to help."
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