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First-time buyers: why now could be the time to get a bargain

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Demand for housing may be down but that means those buyers actively househunting are able to take advantage, according to NAEA Propertymark.

The number of househunters registered per estate agent branch fell by 20% in December, with the rate of sales per branch falling similarly to an average of just five during the month.

However, first-time buyers took the opportunity to buy in this quiet market, with sales to the group increasing to 32%.

This is the highest rate seen since September 2016, and up from 27% in November.

Supply stagnant

The supply of available properties remained stagnant in December, falling by just one to 33 on average per branch. This is down 20% from last December (2016) when agents were typically marketing 41 properties per branch.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “We see this year in, year out. Buyers take a back seat in December to enjoy the festivities, while sellers keep their homes on the market in the hope that someone will take interest and make an offer.

“What we don’t usually see is first-time buyers capitalising on this slump and using it to their advantage – 44% of our members think that the Chancellor’s stamp duty cut for FTBs will encourage more to make offers, and it looks like that’s what we’re starting to see. Hopefully this enthusiasm won’t falter when the second and third time buyers come back onto the market in the new year and competition hots up again.”

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