Alistair Darling is under renewed pressure to clarify any plans for a stamp duty holiday after a poll of estate agents showed the uncertainty was hitting the housing market.

A survey by the National Association of Estate Agents found that 92% believed that the situation had increased consumer concerns, with people who would have bought a home now considering a delay in the hope of avoiding stamp duty later in the year.

The NAEA, which polled 1,350 agents, found 62% had been asked for advice on whether to hold off until the pre-Budget statement in the autumn.

Darling refused to rule out a change in the stamp duty regime after it emerged officials were considering policies including the temporary deferment of the tax for first-time buyers.

Financial Times