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First-time buyer sales remain resilient in cool market

First-time buyers remain committed to getting on the housing ladder while Brexit uncertainty scares off their competition, according to estate agents.

As average total sales per estate agency branch fell month-on-month, the proportion of homes sold to first-time buyers increased to 30 per cent of all house sales in September, the estate agent trade body NAEA Propertymark revealed.

It is the highest proportion of sales to fledgling owners since February, up from 26 per cent in August and 22 per cent in September 2018.

Average sales per branch fell, however, from nine to eight month-on-month. Meanwhile the average number of buyers on estate agents’ books also dropped from 433 in August to 387.

Housing stock is also down. Estate agents reported the number of properties available in their branches fell from an average of 44 in August to 40 in September. Year-on-year they are down from 46 available properties on average.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “Low or no stamp duty on lower priced properties has proved to be a big reason behind this boost in the first-time buyer market.

“However, they could also be concerned that the market may turn against them if a Brexit deal is achieved and are buying now to avoid that scenario. Until we are clearer on what the future holds it’s likely we’ll continue seeing the number of first-time buyer sales rising.”

Last month, UK Finance reported that first-time buyer mortgage completions reached 35,010 their highest total since August 2007 prompting Sam Harhat, head of financial services at Andrews Property Group, to describe current market conditions for first-time buyers as “near perfect”.

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