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Rightmove has joined growing calls for Stamp Duty reform ahead of the Spring Budget next week.

The property portal has outlined three reforms it would like to see Chancellor Jeremy Hunt adopt, including considering regional variations in Stamp Duty tax, a mortgage scheme and green incentives for landlords.

Rightmove has suggested a “localised approach” to Stamp Duty charges in line with regional property prices.

It said this could support more first-time buyers in getting a foot on the ladder, but also potentially encourage more movement up and down the ladder.

The property website highlights that Only 4% of homes in London are Stamp Duty exempt for all buyers, compared with 71% in the North East

Meanwhile, 28% of London properties are currently exempt from stamp duty for first-time buyers, compared with 91% in the North East

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “Stamp Duty is a big barrier to moving, with some who would potentially consider a move likely put off by the hefty stamp duty tax in addition to other moving costs. At the very least the government should be thinking about making the current changes to first-time buyer stamp duty charges permanent, with the higher thresholds introduced in 2022 due to expire next year. 

“However, we think there is an opportunity to go a step further. With such regional variations in property prices, increasing Stamp Duty thresholds in line with these regional variations would seem a logical first step for stamp duty reform. Whilst longer-term supply measures are also needed, this could be one way to help first-time buyers trying to get onto the ladder in more expensive parts of England.”

Rightmove has also suggested that while rumours of a 99% mortgage scheme could help buyers, more support is needed on affordability criteria.

Matt Smith, Rightmove’s mortgage expert said: “The proposal for a 99% mortgage product will offer further support for those with smaller deposits, but it doesn’t address the issue of being able to pass an affordability stress test at 8%+ whilst also being inside the 4.5 loan to income ratio.

“Whilst we support new solutions to help more first-time buyers, the 99% LTV mortgage alone is only likely to support a relatively small group. More needs to be done to strike the right balance between supporting a bigger group of future first-time buyers, whilst maintaining robust affordability assessments.”