Homebuilder Persimmon has called on Gordon Brown to raise the threshold on stamp duty to stimulate the housing market and and help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.
Group chief executive John White said it would be it would be a relatively easy "quick fix" for the Chancellor to increase the threshold on the lower band of tax which currently kicks-in at one per cent on house purchases between £60,000 and £250,000.
Mr White said: "If there was one single thing he could do to to help first-time buyers it would be to raise the threshold at the lower level."
He was speaking as Persimmon unveiled record profits for 2004.
The comments echoed recent proposals from the Liberal Democrats who have pledged to raise the threshold to £150,000 if they win the next General Election.
The average price of a Persimmon home last year rose from £154,810 to £172,431 and the group sold 12,360 units nationwide in 2004.
Mr White said he expected house price inflation to continue at about three to four per cent in 2005, while the group is targeting a volume increase of around five per cent.
Pretax profits at the group last year grew by 33 per cent to £470.4 million on sales of £2.13 billion - the highest profit ever recorded by a UK building company.
Turnover increased from £1.88 billion to £2.13 billion.
Mr White said that while market conditions slowed in the closing months of 2004, there were signs that trading had picked-up in the first few weeks of 2005.
He said: "We've made a positive start to the year with a marked upturn in demand for our homes. We have currently sold £1 billion for 2005 and I'm confident of another year of progress."
As a mark of confidence, the group is lifting the 2005 total dividend payout by 50 per cent to 27.5 pence a share.
Group debt reduced further to around £200 million for gearing of 15 per cent in 2004, but Mr White ruled any large acquisitions.
The group's low level of debt and strong cash flows has given it increased flexibility to make acquisitions and it has recently been mentioned as a possible predator for a number of rival housebuilders, including recently Taylor Woodrow.
Maureen Haywood, deputy managing director for Persimmon Homes West Midlands, said: "We are encouraged with the strong evidence that first time buyers are seeing this period of normal inflation as a good time to purchase and enter a property market.
"Our part exchange properties have seen excellent sales since the start of 2005, giving every confidence that this will continue to filter through to improved market conditions after the General Election."