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Uplift in house sales – but buyers thin on the ground

04 December 2012

The number of house hunters, including first-time buyers, has dropped ‘significantly’, the National Association of Estate Agents has reported.

It said that in October, the average estate agency branch had 265 home hunters registered, compared with 275 the month before, and down from 305 in October the year before.

The drop came despite an uplift in sales agreed – the first increase in a year. Agents recorded an average of eight house sales per branch, up from seven in the previous month.
Mark Hayward, president of the NAEA, said: “The drop in the number of house hunters shows that general economic conditions are putting off would-be house buyers from entering the market. That said, the small increase in actual sales transactions indicates that those serious buyers with suitable financial support are leading a small recovery in parts of the market.
“This is supported by the drop seen in the number of first-time buyers throughout October, from 23% of all house hunters down to a worrying 20%. It is vital that first-time buyers have access to mortgage finance to allow them to enter the property market.

“In many parts of the UK, prices are actually continuing to drop below the lowest points seen at the worst of the recession, yet many first-time buyers are still unable to access the right levels of finance to purchase their first home.”
The average number of properties available for sale per branch was 62 in October, the same as in September.


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