Budget 2010 Preview - is Stamp Duty Threshold to rise again?

The BBC is reporting rumours that in today's Budget for 2010, the Chancellor Alistair Darling is about to raise the threshold for Stamp Duty to £250, 000 - but just for first time buyers.  Presumably this would be positioned as a stimulus to the UK housing market - which has been somewhat coasting along since mid January.

How he would make this change exclusively for first-time buyers would be is a mystery.  We can imagine all sorts of loopholes and complications.  Much more likely is that the rate of Duty be reduced temporarily once again (it was only increased again on January 1st this year).

It's just possible that the Chancellor could make some sort of Tory-spoiling announcement regarding the abolition of the Home Information Pack.  

This could be argued as a housing market stimulus as well - even if it's more likely to result in confusion not to mention thousands of people looking for work!  

More likely it would be replaced with something either smaller (AKA cheaper) based on the EPC, or made voluntary.