The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) October Housing Market Report has revealed that sales to first-time buyers are at their highest level for six years.
The NAEA’s report found that there was an average of nine sales per estate agent branch overall in October, with 31% of these sales to first-time purchasers. In September, first-time buyers had accounted for 29% of all sales, while in August it had only been a fifth (20%). This means transactions involving first-time buyers have jumped 11% in just two months.
Ahead of the seasonal Christmas slowdown, the supply of housing rose in October, with the amount of properties available to buy per branch growing by 16% between September and October. By contrast, demand actually went the other way, with an average of 342 house-hunters per branch in September compared to only 336 in October.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said the rise in the number of sales to first-time buyers is a promising sign. “Competitive mortgage products and the increasing pressure of an interest rate rise could be encouraging first steppers to take the plunge, as well as the dwindling supply of rental housing stock – putting pressure on renters to buy.”
He added: “Although it is great to see supply growing and demand falling – we cannot rest in the knowledge that the housing market is on the ‘road to recovery’. What we’re seeing is a seasonal uplift.”
“Those selling their homes are keen to push through sales before Christmas, hence the uplift in properties entering the market – but with the average sale taking between nine and 12 weeks, it’s unlikely transactions will be pushed through before Christmas now. Buyers are holding off until January to kick off the New Year with a house-hunt.”