Property groups in Cumbria and across the UK have welcomed the temporary changes to stamp duty announced on Wednesday by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

As part of his Summer Economic Update, dubbed the ‘mini-budget’, Mr Sunak raised the starting threshold for payment of stamp duty to £500,000, saving the average buyer £4,500. Nearly nine out of 10 people buying their main home this year will pay no duty at all, with the changes running until the end of March next year.

On hearing the announcement Colin Tomlinson, managing director of leading independent group H&H Land & Estates which has branches in Carlisle, Penrith, Keswick and across the county, said: “This is a significant increase which should makes a noticeable difference to the housing market.

“This is an injection of positivity after the pent-up frustration of the housing market in lockdown.

“Without doubt people have been holding back from both buying and selling houses so these steps taken by the government to stimulate the market must be massively commended.”

Previously, home buyers did not pay any stamp duty on the first £125,000 cost of their property, then two per cent on the cost above £125,000, five per cent above £250,000, 10 per cent on the value above £925,000 and 12 per cent above £1.5m.

The Chancellor unveiled his move as part of a range of measures designed to boost growth and jobs, and to stimulate the economy as the country comes out of lockdown imposed by the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Tomlinson says that the stamp duty changes should kick-start the housing market, which he believes was heading towards recession after four months of stuttering prices.

“People are wanting to move forward and at the moment they are treading water. Movement in the housing market will have a knock-on effect on the overall economy with associated home improvements, property extensions and so forth.

“This will be a massive boost for the sector, especially the first-time buyer markets and those looking to upsize to the next stage of the property ladder.

“Last month the average price of a house was £237,616 – whether these stamp duty changes have a knock-on effect in terms of values is something we will just have to wait and see. “

H&H Land and Estates has estate agency offices in Carlisle, Penrith, Cockermouth, Kendal, Keswick, Grange-over-Sands and Durham.

National construction company KPMG welcomed the changes, which came into effect instantly, but questioned whether there was a need for them.

Jan Crosby, head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said: “The stamp duty cut until 31 March will be welcomed by the housing sector and those looking to move house. However, the market has already been motoring since lockdown has been relaxed – pricing has remained stable and new reservations have been high. This has demonstrated the large pent-up demand that still exists for home ownership and it has been accelerated towards family housing with gardens following people’s experiences through lockdown. The cut may not have been needed.”