Home Information Packs should be scrapped and buyers should be a given a stamp duty holiday to reinvigorate the struggling residential property market, CB Richard Ellis Hamptons said today.

Reporting that confidence in the residential sector is at its lowest in 18 years, the property consultancy said there are a number of things the government can do to help the credit-crunch battered industry.

‘Alongside the government’s housebuilding targets, there are also a number of reasons why they would want to stabilise the housing market, not least the need to improve their re-election prospects,’ the company’s residential market view for the second quarter of 2008 said.

‘For example, a stamp duty holiday would lower the costs of buying a house and removing Home information Packs could entice buyers back into the market.’

The report, which also said in the last eight months house prices have declined 7.3%, said the government could also re-introduce income support for mortgage repayments for home-owners who are made redundant.

This would be a simpler alternative to the government’s idea of a publically funded rent back scheme which would involve a public body buying homes that are at risk of repossession and then leasing them back to the former owner.

The report also said it is nearly impossible to accurately predict when the market will bottom out, but said it expects house prices to fall by a total 10% this year, followed by less significant falls in 2009 and then a period of flat growth with the market picking up post 2010.