Affordable housing must take top priority in the future prime minister's agenda for Britain, Nationwide Building Society has urged.
A first step towards making homes affordable for first-time buyers would be for chancellor Gordon Brown to raise the lower limit for stamp duty liability, argues Nationwide.
Levels of stamp duty must stay in line with rising house prices, which would bring the lower bound to £210,000 instead of £125,000.
With the typical house now worth £181,584, stamp duty is falling even on those homebuyers purchasing a home priced well below the average.
Yet when Labour first came to power in 1997, stamp duty was set on homes worth £60,000 and above at a time when the price of the average house was £58,196, excluding the vast majority of homeowners from liability.
Mr Brown must show his determination to help ordinary British families with regular expenditure, Stuart Bernau, executive director at Nationwide, urged.
"Helping … mortgage borrowers would give a clear signal to the country that he is committed to helping family finances," he said.
According to the Chartered Institute of Housing, the government would need to invest £11.6 billion to create 210,000 new affordable homes over the next three years.
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