A Government stamp duty trade-in initiative to kick-start the ailing housing market has turned out to be a monumental failure. Only one property developer has availed of the scheme announced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in the emergency Budget last April. Anyone who accepted a property in exchange or as part-payment for a new home could avail of a deferred stamp duty payment  under the scheme. The builder would not be liable for stamp duty until the swapped or traded-in house or apartment was sold on, or until December 31, 2010, which ever came first.The Business Post quotes Fintan McNamara of the Institute Of Professional Auctioneers as saying that he never expected the initiative to work. “If the Government wants to kick-start the market, it should reduce stamp duty,” he said. “We have the most penal stamp duty rates in the EU, at 7 and 9 per cent. If the Government reduced it to 4 per cent, then it might see an increase in activity and income.”

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