The number of properties for sale on the UK housing market has hit a six month high, helping to alleviate the imbalance between supply and demand that has exerted so much upward pressure on house prices in recent years.
The latest monthly report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) shows that the volume of homes available for buyers increased to 41 per branch in August, the highest level seen since March when agents reported an average 54 properties registered per branch.
The data provided by the NAEA also reveals that the volume of sales to first-time buyers rose from 25% collectively in July, to 28% in August, an increase of 8% on August 2015.
Looking ahead 39% of estate agents expect demand to grow following the recent interest rate cut, despite the fact that the number of house hunters registered per member branch dropped marginally, to an average of 287 in August, from 298 in July.
The figures also reveal that in August, 76% of properties sold per NAEA member branch went for less than the original asking price – down 3% from July when 79% of properties sold for less than asking price.
The NAEA’s managing director Mark Hayward said: “Following a few months of uncertainty in the market, it’s more than encouraging to see things moving in the right direction. Although we have seen a slight drop in demand, the fact that supply has risen means more choice for those that are looking for a new home and we can see the impact of that because the rise in sales to FTBs was higher than we normally see in August.
“News from the Treasury this month that government deposits on the Lifetime ISA can be used towards the initial deposit to secure a property and the impact of interest rate cuts will also raise confidence in first-time buyers that now is a good time to be looking to buy.”