Buyer confidence is bouncing back to pre-Brexit levels but the number of first-timers buying has fallen, according to the National Association of Estate Agents’ (NAEA) September housing market report. Written by Mark Cantrell for http://www.housingexcellence.co.uk
The average number of house hunters registered per member branch increased 16% from 287 in August to 333 in September according to the report. This takes the prospective number of buyers up to the levels seen in June, when estate agents recorded 330 on average per branch, the NAEA said.
But sales to first-time buyers dropped five percentage points from August, with 23% of sale in September made to first timers. The organisation said this is the lowest level seen since November last year, when 21% of sales were made to this group.
What’s more, the implications of tjhe Brexit vote appear to be marginal to the performance of the first time buyer market, as the NAEA’s report found that just 12% of estate agents has seen sales to first-time buyers stall since Brexit, whereas 41% have witnessed no change in first time buyer activity as a result of the Brexit vote.
Meanwhile, the number of houses available to buy decreased “marginally” in September, to 40 per branch. This is a decline from 41 properties per branch recorded in August, which was the highest level seen since March this year
The number of sales agreed rose by 12.5% in September to an average of nine per branch.
“This month’s report proves that buyer confidence is growing, which is obviously reassuring, given that we expected uncertainty following Brexit,” said Mark Hayward, the NAEA’s managing director. “Although supply has dropped marginally, this does not concern us as it’s still higher than the levels we saw between April and July.
“However, it is worrying that the number of sales being made to first time buyers has fallen to the lowest number in 10 months. The fact the Government’s Help to Buy housing scheme is due to close this year might pose more of a challenge for those who were relying on this to help get their foot on the property ladder. We now look ahead to the Autumn Statement and look forward to seeing what plans the Government puts in place to assist first time buyers towards their goal of homeownership.”