The number of sales made to first time buyers fell in November according to data just released by the National Association of Estate Agents.
After what it calls “a promising period” from July to October in which the number of sales made to first time buyers grew, in November the percentage of sales made to the sector fell by 10 per cent. Sales as a whole were down by one per cent – regarded as typical during the winter period - but sales to first timers nose-dived more dramatically.
Over half of agents surveyed by the association felt first timers would remain squeezed out of the market due to the lack of affordable housing, despite measures for new starter homes announced by the government late last year.
The NAEA says the lack of supply and growing demand for housing “continued to drive the market into the ground” as the number of house-hunters grew in November grew by 20 per cent while the volume of available stock fell.
In October there were 336 house-hunters on average registered per branch, rising to 403 in November. Available housing decreased marginally in November, from 43 properties managed per branch in the previous month, to 41 in November.
“It’s very normal at this time of year that demand is high and supply is low. House hunters hoping to find their dream property in the New Year have registered interest with agents, whilst those hoping to sell are holding off putting their properties on the market before January. However, supply is outweighing demand so heavily now that it can’t solely be attributed to seasonality” says Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.
“It’s clear that we’re faced with a crisis here: the housing market needs addressing as a matter of urgency. Our recent Housing 2025 report compiled with ARLA and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that by 2025, house prices are set to rise by 50 per cent.”
He adds: “If we don’t act now, this will impact first time buyers, second steppers and last steppers, forcing many out of home ownership.”