Research carried out by stockbroker Merrion has found a muted reaction in the housing market to changes in stamp duty announced in the Budget.

Merrion surveyed 35 estate agents in 24 counties to see if there was any noticeable reaction to Brian Cowen's move, which brought in new bands and rates aimed at simplifying the system.

26% of the estate agents reported an increase in the level of inquiries since the Budget, but 74% reported no change. 'Almost all' of those reporting an increase in the level of inquiries said the rise was marginal, according to Merrion.

But the broker said estate agents pointed out that this was a quiet time of year and may not yet represent an accurate reflection.

Merrion concluded, however, that the changes in stamp duty were not expected to significantly alter housing trends in the short-term, and that interest rates and confidence in future prices were bigger issues. The broker plans to repeat the survey at the end of next month.