Number of house hunters at 10 year high

Ryan Fowler

October 30, 2014

The NAEA September Housing Market Report found that member agents reported an average of 406 house hunters at each branch – the highest number recorded since October 2004, when an average of 511 buyers were reported.

However, while supply of housing increased slightly from last month, from 49 houses available in August to 51 in September, this figure is seasonally low for September.

The last time that supply levels were lower for September was in 2002, when 43 houses were available per NAEA member branch.

The number of first-time buyers is also on the up and they now account for just under a third (30%) of all sales NAEA estate agents reported for the month of September, compared to 28% in August and 20% in July.

Mark Hayward, managing director at the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “The report demonstrates to us that people are ready to get on or move up the housing ladder, but the supply levels do not match demand.

“September is a notoriously busy month in the housing market; the kids have gone back to school after the summer and people want to get sorted before Christmas, however it seems a lack of affordable and quality housing has been a problem this month.

“Now that the economy is picking up and Brits are in more comfortable financial situations, more people will want to buy and sell homes, but may be restricted.”

Despite high volumes of house hunters, the majority of houses are being sold for under the sellers’ original asking price. Only four per cent of properties sold in September were sold for more than the original asking price, and a stark 82% were sold for less than asking price – 16% more than in July, when this was last reported on.

Furthermore, almost three quarters (70%) of estate agents agreed that the impending interest rate rise set for 2015 is already effecting demand in the housing market – up by a quarter from September when only 39% thought that the rise was already effecting demand.

Hayward added: “There’s still a visible gap in the number of house hunters, and the number of properties available and the impending base rate rise is likely to have an effect on this, with almost three quarters of agents reporting evidence of the rise affecting demand already.

“All of our research does emphasise the need for the government to take action and ensure measures are in place for more homes to be built in order for supply to eventually meet the growing demand.”

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