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Vast majority of agents admit sales process is out of date

A survey conducted by the National Association of Estate Agents reveals that 79 per cent of agents regard the current home-buying process as outdated.

The analysis came from the association’s September housing report - conducted before the announcement by the government 10 days ago that it was calling for evidence ahead of possible legislative changes to how homes and bought and sold.

“The government’s announcement ... couldn’t come soon enough, and we welcome it. Our findings show that estate agents agree, and would welcome changes to ensure the process for buying and selling is brought into the twenty first century” explains Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark chief executive.

“The current prolonged process means sales are stagnating despite the fact that the supply of housing is up, and there is growing demand. Hopefully we will see activity pick up marginally in the short term, when properties which are being marketed now are taken off the market and pushed through, so buyers can be in before Christmas” he adds.

Hayward’s comments about recent activity refer to new NAEA data showing that in  September, the number of house hunters registered at estate agents rose to the highest level seen since March this year, with 394 on average per branch.

This number was up from 343 in August and 347 in July.

The number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books increased from 37 in August, to 41 in September – the highest number recorded since March this year.

However, despite the fact that both supply and demand for properties increased in September, the number of sales agreed remained flat, with an average of eight agreed per branch – the same as July and August.

The proportion of sales made to first time buyers was 23 per cent in September, which is also the same as the previous two months.

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