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Just over a quarter, 26%, of house sales in the UK were made to first time buyers in April but estate agents are warning that with prices increasing it could be harder for them in the next few years. Sales to first time buyers are up from 22% in March, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) April Housing Market Report. However when looking further ahead, 93% of NAEA agents do not see first time buyers having substantial cut through in the market over the next five years. Further, 55% of member agents think that house prices will increase over the next five years, continuing to push first time buyers out of the market. The report also found that in the build up to the General Election, demand in April remained similar to the previous month with 344 house hunters registered per branch compared to 343 in March, whilst supply decreased from last month, with just 43 houses available per member branch compared to 48 in March. In addition to this, 74% of NAEA member agents do not see supply and demand levelling out over the next five years, meaning that more buyers will be squeezed out of the market. ‘The market is notoriously tough for first time buyers. House prices continue to increase and lenders have tight and restrictive lending criteria,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director. ‘Whilst this month’s figures are positive and a step in the right direction, I’d like to think that with the help of 200,000 new starter homes and the Help to Buy ISA, first time buyers will be given even more help to get their foot on the ladder, however these things may take time to come to fruition,’ he explained. Following the result of the General Election, 92% of NAEA agents think the majority Conservative government is great news for the housing market and out of all the Conservatives’ pledges, 60% of agents believe their plan to build 200,000 new starter homes will benefit consumers the most. Also, some 41% of estate agents believe that the Help to Buy ISA will be the most beneficial, allowing first time buyers to save more successfully for their first home. Continue reading →
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