The number of available homes, demand from house hunters and first-time buyer (FTB) sales all increased in September, according to NAEA Propertymark.
The number of properties available to purchase rose by 15% in September – up from 40 in August to 46 per branch on average.
This is the highest number recorded since March 2016 when an average of 54 properties were available, and the highest for the month of September since 2014 when an average of 51 properties were available per estate agent branch.
Meanwhile, the number of house hunters registered per branch rose from 320 in August to 338 last month – an increase of 6%.
Despite this, demand is down by 14% year-on-year as there were 394 house hunters registered per branch in September 2017.
When it came to first-time buyers, sales to this group rose marginally in September, increasing by two percentage points to 22%. This comes after a three-year low for FTB activity in August.
The number of sales agreed per branch remained the same in September, with an average of nine recorded per branch.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “Buyers and sellers always tend to flood the market in September with the hope of completing their transactions before the festive period kicks off. Therefore, the summer is usually a good time for first-time buyers to enter negotiations and try to secure a property.”
He said despite this trend, this summer’s heatwave led to an unusually busy August, as house buyers and sellers opted to stay at home rather than head abroad for their summer holidays. This boosted competition and meant sales to FTBs were down.
“We hope that during next week’s Autumn Budget the Chancellor announces further measures to improve market conditions for first-time buyers,” Hayward added. “Ultimately, the only thing which will make the housing ladder more accessible is reduced competition, which comes down to supply.”