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First-time Buyer

Number of homes available to buy up 15% in September

Antonia Di Lorenzo
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Antonia Di Lorenzo

The supply of available properties, demand from house hunters and first-time buyer sales all increased in September, according to the estate agent trade body.

Figures from NAEA Propertymark show the number of properties available to buy increased by 15% in September, rising from 40 per branch on average in August to 46.

This is the highest number recorded since March 2016 when an average of 54 properties were available and the highest for the month of September since 2014, when an average of 51 properties were available per estate agent branch.

The number of house hunters registered per branch also rose by 6% last month, from 320 in August, to 338 in September.

Despite this short-term trend, demand is down by 14% year-on-year, as there were 394 house hunters registered per branch in September 2017.

Sales to FTBs and sales agreed

Following a three-year low for first-time buyer (FTBs) activity in August, sales to the group rose marginally in September, increasing by 2% to 22% of the market.

The number of sales agreed per branch remained the same in September, with an average of nine recorded per branch.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said that buyers and sellers tended to flood the market in September with the hope of completing their transactions before the festive period kicks off.

“Therefore, the summer is usually a good time for FTBs to enter negotiations and try to secure a property. However, this summer’s heatwave led to an unusually busy August as house buyers and sellers opted to stay at home rather than heading abroad for their summer holidays. This boosted competition and meant sales to FTBs were down,” he said.

“We hope that during next week’s Autumn Budget the Chancellor announces further measures to improve market conditions for FTBs. Ultimately, the only thing which will make the housing ladder more accessible is reduced competition, which comes down to supply.”