House for Sale signs in the UK
Stamp duty hikes on expensive homes and property investors have weakened demand in the housing market Reuters

The Treasury should reverse its stamp duty hikes to clear the "log-jam" in the property market, said the boss of an estate agent.

At the end of 2014, the government increased stamp duty on expensive homes. Then from April 2016, it put a 3% levy on top of basic stamp-duty rates for purchases of additional property, in a move to target buy-to-let investors and second homeowners.

"Surely it is time the new government overturns the negative SDLT hikes both aimed at buy-to-let investors and at the top end of the scale," said Paul Smith, CEO of haart estate agents.

"Measures need [to be] eased in order to increase fluidity within the market as these charges are without doubt causing a log-jam – no wonder when buyers have to fork out an extra 3% on top of the 7% they are already paying."

Based on its own data, Haart also said the average house price fell 1.1% between August and September to £226,229. Year on year, this was a 2.5% rise.

"Although we are seeing more positive consumer confidence materialising post-Brexit, the UK's housing market is still marked by a number of negatives, as prices and transactions continue to fall on the month," Smith said.

"We are however starting to see some improvements, in the form of the number of new buyers that are entering the market, and the number of viewings that are taking place."