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Estate agents say home buying process is outdated

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The vast majority of estate agents agree that the home-buying process is outdated, according to a survey by the NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents).

Eight in 10 (79%) of 1,711 estate agents who responded to the survey for NAEA’s September Housing Report said they felt the home-buying process needed reforming.

The responses support proposals from the government to reform the house-buying process, but did not address the key questions of banning referral fees and relationships between estate agents, brokers and conveyancers.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “The government’s announcement last weekend that it will consult to reform the home-buying process couldn’t come soon enough, and we welcome it.

“Our findings show that estate agents agree, and would welcome changes to ensure the process for buying and selling is brought into the twenty first century. The current prolonged process means sales are stagnating despite the fact that the supply of housing is up, and there is growing demand.

“Hopefully we will see activity pick up marginally in the short-term, when properties which are being marketed now are taken off the market and pushed through, so buyers can be in before Christmas,” he added.

House-hunting activity up

In its September Housing Report the NAEA also confirmed the number of house hunters registered at estate agents rose to the highest level seen since March this year, with 394 on average per branch, up from 343 in August and 347 in July.

The average number of properties available to buy on an estate agents’ books also increased from 37 in August, to 41 in September – the highest number recorded since March this year.

However, in spite of the fact that both supply and demand for properties increased in September, the number of sales agreed remained flat, with an average of eight agreed per branch – the same as July and August. The proportion of sales made to first time buyers was 23% in September, which was also the same as the previous two months.

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