UK estate agents report a better balance between buyers and homes for sale

Taylor Scott International News

A better balance between the number of homes for sale and the number of registered home buyers in the UK is emerging, according to the latest report from the National Association of Estate Agents. The October Housing Market survey found that member agents reported an average of 53 properties for sale per branch, some 15% higher than the monthly average for the rest of 2014. It is the highest number recorded on books since October 2013 and compares with an average of 51 properties was recorded per branch in September. While supply showed signs of an increase, the number of house hunters registered per NAEA member branch fell, from 406 in September to 380 in October, easing the balance between the number of available homes and demand. The survey data also shows that the average number of homes sold during the month remained static on September figures, at average of nine sales per NAEA member branch. The number of first time buyers recorded fell, down 6% in October compared to the previous month’s figures, to 24% of total sales from 30% of total sales in September. ‘There is a better balance emerging between the level of demand and supply, as the number of registered house hunters falls for October, while the average number of available properties registered per branch rises to accommodate those looking to buy,’ said NAEA managing director Mark Hayward. ‘However, both supply and demand is still seasonably low for October. The decrease in buyer demand and in particular the decline in first time buyers, along with a relatively static sales market, could be a direct result of the stricter lending criteria which came into play six months ago at the end of April this year, making it harder for house hunters to access mortgage finance. This has certainly been reported as one possibility by our NAEA member branches,’ he added. When asked if the new MMR rules had led to a direct decrease in the overall number of home buyers since it was introduced six months ago, some 79% of NAEA member branches agreed it had affected the current number of buyers. With the exception of September 2014, in which 406 home buyers were recorded on average per branch, the number of house hunters registered per member branch had shown a decrease on figures recorded in April 2014 when it was 392 home buyers in the month MMR was introduced. NAEA member branches also said they believed the MMR had particularly affected demand among first time buyers with 70% of member branches reporting the implementation of MMR had led to a decrease in the number of first time buyers since it came into force. ‘First time buyers will be especially more cautious about making a purchase due to the stricter lending criteria now in place, which makes it harder to secure finance,’ explained Hayward. ‘In addition, prospective… Continue reading →

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