More first time buyers entering the UK housing market

Taylor Scott International News

First time buyers in the UK have increased their dominance of the housing market but other buyers have fallen in number, according to estate agents. The latest Housing Market Report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) also reveals that the supply of homes has reached a near decade low. The average number of properties available per member branch in February fell from 45 in January to 43 in February, the fifth consecutive drop experienced in supply of properties coming on to the market. The NAEA says that the supply of properties are now at similar levels seen in May 2004 but despite the lack of properties in the market, the average number of sales agreed per branch continued to improve, up from an average of eight sales per branch in January to nine in February. The number of first time buyers entering the market has also continued to improve with 29% of all homes sold by NAEA member agents being sold to them in February. However, these figures were recorded alongside a decrease in the in the total number of house hunters, with the average number registering with member agents down 6.2%. This resulted in the average number of buyers per property remaining the same at eight, as both supply and house hunter numbers contract. NAEA agents also reported that the percentage of properties sold to people purchasing a house using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme remained the same month on month at an average 4%. The most popular group buying was those aged 31 to 40 years old, making up half of the buyers seen in February. NAEA agents also reported 22% home buyers were looking to re-locate, while the average length of time it takes to buy a property in the UK is 11 weeks from sale agreed through to completion. ‘The housing market remained strong in February with first time buyers continuing to turn out in force. As confidence in the housing market continues to rise, NAEA agents expect the number of first time buyers to remain strong,’ said NAEA president Jan Hÿtch. ‘This confidence may be increasing, but the lack of properties entering the market has slowed considerably and is a real concern that needs to be addressed now, particularly for those already on the housing ladder who want to move onwards. With Help to Buy making it easier for new purchasers with low deposits to buy a home, the appetite for buying in this price range, combined with the diminishing supply of first time buyer properties, could drive property prices up further in this sector,’ Hÿtch added. Continue reading →

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