Overall demand for housing fell by 20% in December, with 268 prospective home-owners registered per member branch, down from 333 in November.
NAEA’s Propertymarks’ December Housing Report found the number of sales agreed per estate agent branch fell to five – the lowest since December 2014 when there were also five agreed, and down from seven in November.
Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “We see this year in, year out. Buyers take a back seat in December to enjoy the festivities, while sellers keep their homes on the market in the hope that someone will take interest and make an offer.
“What we don’t usually see is first-time buyers capitalising on this slump and using it to their advantage – 44% of our members think that the Chancellor’s stamp duty cut for first-time buyers will encourage more to make offers, and it looks like that’s what we’re starting to see.
“Hopefully this enthusiasm won’t falter when the second and third time buyers come back onto the market in the New Year and competition hots up again.”
However, first-time buyers took it upon themselves to take advantage of the quieter month, as the percentage of sales made to the group increased to 32%.
This is the highest rate seen since September 2016 when it stood at 32% again, and up from 27% in November.
The supply of available properties remained fairly stagnant in December, falling by just one to 33 on average per branch.
This is down 20% from last December (2016) when agents were typically marketing 41 properties per branch.