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Record number of house hunters on estate agent books

Written by: Samantha Partington
Buyers registered on estate agents’ books are at their highest level for 16 years, figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark revealed.

In November, the average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch reached 580. The 29% increase from 451 buyers in October makes last month the highest November for registered buyers per branch on record and marks the highest number of buyers recorded since August 2004.

The average number of sales agreed per branch rose by one on the previous month to 13 in November. The small increase makes last month the highest November for sales agreed since 2002.

Year-on-year, the average number of sales agreed per branch has increased by 86%, rising from seven in November 2018 and 2019.

The proportion of sales made to first-time buyers, however, fell year-on-year from 28% to 24%.

The average number of available properties to buy per branch rose slightly from 39 in October to 40 in November.

The majority of properties up for sale sold for less than their asking price, but the proportion of those homes that did sell above the asking price rose from 7% in October to 10% in November.

Rightmove reported a gradual decline in asking prices in October and November.

Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at NAEA Propertymark, said: “The pressure of completing a house purchase ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadlines means we have seen an extremely high number of potential buyers flood the market in November, in the hope of finding their dream home.

“We remain very concerned about the impact of the stamp duty cliff edge on the 31 March, with 56% of estate agents expecting to see an increase in failed sales next year due to buyers realising their sale will not complete ahead of the deadline.”

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