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Sales to first time buyers rise

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The number of sales made to first time buyers (FTBs) rose in September, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Its September Housing Market Report revealed that buyers taking their first step on the housing ladder accounted for 29% of all sales last month, compared to 20% in August – the highest since May this year when sales to the group made up 29% of total sales.

Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents, said: “It’s obviously very positive to see that the number of sales being made to FTBs has risen this month. We saw an average nine sales going through per branch in September, which means that for each branch, around three sales were made to the group. We’re seeing a whole range of new competitive mortgage products coming on to the market, which is likely to be encouraging first steppers to take the plunge, as well as the fact that the ‘impending’ interest rate rise has now been pushed back to next year at the very earliest.

“However, in order to ensure there is enough affordable housing on the market for FTBs, we need the issue of supply and demand to be addressed in a big way. Until substantial numbers of new houses are built, we won’t see every FTB reach the bottom rung of the ladder.”

Is the market moving in the right direction?

The number of house-hunters registered per estate agent branch dropped in September, following a period of “high and unsustainable demand” in July and August, the report found.

On average, there were 342 prospective buyers registered at each NAEA member branch in September. This is a drop of 16% from the 408 recorded in August, and a 26% drop from July when demand reached an eleven year high2 with average 462 house-hunters per branch.

The number of properties available to buy dropped marginally to 37 per member branch in September. This followed a huge fall in the availability of housing stock the month before, when the number of properties available fell from 55 in July to 38 in August – a decrease of 31%.

Hayward continued: “If we could just get supply and demand to meet in the middle, the housing market would be functional again; it’s a real issue across the market at the moment. Developers are struggling to secure planning permission and labour is in short supply. This means that the army of house-hunters looking to buy has out-grown the number of housing available at a rapid rate, and it’s completely unsustainable.”



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