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Fewer sales, supply static, first time buyers down - that was 2018

An end-of-year analysis from the National Association of Estate Agents shows the state of the industry - and it confirms just how tough a year it was.

Over the course of 2018, demand was lower than last year with an average of 324 house buyers registered per branch, compared to 366 on average throughout 2017. However, looking back over the last 10 years, it’s up by 31 per cent, from 222 per branch in 2008.

Meanwhile the number of properties available to buy was more or less unchanged at 39 per branch this year - in 2017 it was 38. However, supply has dropped significantly over the last decade, from 89 on average per branch in 2008.

The number of sales agreed per branch throughout the year fell in 2018, from nine on average per month in 2017, to eight this year. However, this figure has remained fairly consistent over the long term, moving merely etween 12 and seven from 2008 to now. 

Despite the fact that first-time buyers benefitted from stamp duty relief in 2018 and were arguably the target of Help To Buy, the proportion of total sales made to the group fell by one percentage point year-on-year – from 26 per cent on average in 2017 to 25 per cent in 2018.

“2018 has been a busy year for the property market, with the Government launching several consultations to address important issues – most notably to regulate the sector, improve the buying and selling process, and address the issue of leaseholds” explains Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark. 

He continues: “The housing market has notably slowed, particularly over the last couple of months, which could be a by-product of Brexit uncertainty, as buyers hold off on purchases until the outcome is clear.”

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