FTBs account for a quarter of all sales
Figures from the NAEA August Housing Market Report showed encouraging growth with the average number of FTBs increasing from 22% in July to 26% in August, suggesting the impact of looser lending restrictions and uptake of Help to Buy are beginning to be felt.
NAEA members also reported an increase of nearly a third (28.8%) in the average number of house hunters per branch, up from 250 in July to 322 in August. Members also reported a slight increase in the average sales agreed per branch in August (nine) compared with July (eight).
While sales and house hunters are up, however, supply levels saw a slight decrease over the course of the month meaning that buyers face rising competition for the best homes. The number of available properties per branch decreased from 53 in July to 52 in August suggesting properties are being snapped up by eager buyers looking to take advantage of continuing low rates.
And it’s the forty-something movers who are leading the way according to the NAEA – 40% of home buyers last month were aged between 41 and 55 years old, followed closely by 31 to 40 year olds at 36%.
Buying a house as a couple was the most popular method seen by member agents with nearly eight out of ten properties being sold to couples. Only one in ten (12%) were sold to individuals.
Commenting, Jan Hӱtch, president of the NAEA, said: “The return of FTBs purchasing property has been anticipated for some time now. The combination of low interest rates and help from the Government has made purchasing a home more attainable for FTBs and it is good to see that many of them are taking advantage of the incentives available.
“The significant increase in the number of house hunters, particularly in what’s often a quiet time in the market, is also a very positive sign that confidence is returning.
“The Bank of England has recently announced intentions to keep its base rate at 0.5%, and the guidance that it won’t be increasing rates until the recovery is stabilised is great news for those with a mortgage. It also has the double benefit of potentially stirring up further interest amongst property buyers who have until now been biding their time.
“The variety and accessibility of schemes now on offer to help buyers onto the housing market can also be thanked for generating house buying interest in 2013. Initiatives such as Funding for Lending, shared ownership, NewBuy and Help to Buy all seem to be encouraging growth and have helped make August a remarkable month.”