Treasury officials say nothing has been agreed, but it is understood one of the options they are considering is to allow people to defer payment of stamp duty - which is considered more likely than temporarily suspending the tax altogether.
A temporary deferral would allow house buyers extra time to pay the tax while the government would not lose out on the revenue altogether - last year it raised £6.5bn from stamp duty.
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond told the BBC the government should adopt the Conservatives' "fully costed" plan to lift 90% of first-time buyers out of stamp duty altogether.
But he added: "There's no magic wand. They got us into this mess by not behaving prudently during the good years."
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said: "The government shouldn't be trying to bribe people into buying houses in a falling market.
"With the economy grinding to a halt, we are already likely to see a shortfall in taxation. Suspending stamp duty, even on a temporary basis, will only make this situation worse."
He said falls in house prices were "painful but necessary" if first time buyers were to be able to get on the housing ladder.
John Stewart, chief economist at the Home Builders Federation, told the BBC he did not think deferring stamp duty would have much effect - but backed a "holiday" for first-time buyers altogether for a fixed period.
He said this would have to be considered as part of a package of measures which also addressed the "mortgage crisis", consumer confidence and cutting interest rates.
Mr Stewart told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "The most important is to resolve the mortgage crisis. There is a very serious shortage of money for the lenders to lend...
"We're in a situation this year where lending this year will probably be about half what it was last year. Now, that's a very serious drop and we need to see something done to address that."
During his interview, Mr Darling conceded that it was "very difficult to speculate" on what would happen to house prices in the coming year, but added that it was "perfectly true" the British economy would slow down.
He also argued that there were problems of "practicality" with calls for a windfall tax on energy companies but said he would work with energy companies to try to help people meet higher payments.
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