Sales to first time buyers hit post-recession high

Sales to first time buyers now make up nearly one in three sales, according to figures released by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Sales to first time buyers made up 31% of sales in October, up from 29% in September and 20% in August. The rise puts them at their highest level in six years.

The NAEA reported that the number of houses for sale has increased, with an average of 43 available per member branch compared with 37 in September. However the number of house hunters recorded remained largely static, with a slight drop of an average of 336 compared to an average of 342 house hunters per member branch recorded in September.

However the NAEA’s Managing Director Mark Hayward put the increase down to seasonality, and isn’t calling the recovery complete just yet.

Mark Hayward said: “It’s really promising that, for the second month running, the number of sales being made to FTBs has risen. Competitive mortgage products and the increasing pressure of an interest rate rise could be encouraging first steppers to take the plunge, as well as the dwindling supply of rental housing stock – putting pressure on renters to buy.

“Although it is great to see supply growing and demand falling – albeit by just two per cent, we cannot rest in the knowledge that the housing market is on the ‘road to recovery’.

“What we’re seeing is a seasonal uplift. Those selling their homes are keen to push through sales before Christmas, hence the uplift in properties entering the market – but with the average sale taking between nine and 12 weeks, it’s unlikely transactions will be pushed through before Christmas now. Buyers are holding off until January to kick off the New Year with a house-hunt.”

First time buyers will be boosted further in the New Year with the new Help to Buy ISA launching. First time buyers will be able to receive a 25% bonus on savings in the scheme after a minimum of three months of saving.

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