The number of properties available to buy increased by 15% in September – rising from 40 in August to 46 per branch on average, NAEA Propertymark’s Housing Report has found.
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.
Mark Hayward, chief executive, 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.
“However, this summer’s heatwave led to an unusually busy August as house buyers and sellers opted to stay at home rather than heading abroad for their summer holidays. This boosted competition and meant sales to first-time buyers were down.
“We hope that during next week’s Autumn Budget the Chancellor announces further measures to improve market conditions for first-time buyers.
“Ultimately, the only thing which will make the housing ladder more accessible is reduced competition, which comes down to supply.”
The number of house hunters registered per branch also rose by 6% last month, from 320 in August, to 338 in September. Despite this short-term trend, demand is down by 14% year-on-year, as there were 394 house hunters registered per branch in September 2017.
Following a three-year low for first-time buyer activity in August, sales to the group rose marginally in September, increasing by 2% to reach 22%. The number of sales agreed per branch remained the same in September, with an average of nine recorded per branch.