News at Ware & Co | 31/03/2017

Sales to first-time-buyers dipped in February

  • Supply of available housing increased while demand remained the same

Sales agreed and what properties sold for

  • The number of sales agreed rose to a 10 year high in February, to 11 per branch; the last time this figure surpassed 10 per branch was in September 2007, indicating buyer confidence is growing. In January estate agents agreed eight sales per branch, up from six in December
  • With high sales levels recorded in February, three in every four (74 per cent) of the sales made were below the original asking price suggesting sellers are taking a pragmatic approach to their property transactions.

Sales to first time buyers (FTBs)

  • The proportion of sales which were agreed for FTBs dipped to 22 per cent in February, down from 30 per cent in January.

Supply of properties

  • The number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books increased to 44 in February. In January, there were just 38 available per branch
  • This figure has increased by 26 per cent from last February when agents had just 35 properties available per branch.

Demand for properties

  • The number of house buyers registered per member branch remained at 425 for the second month in a row.

Housing White Paper

  • Only seven per cent of estate agents expect the remedies outlined in the Government’s Housing White Paper to be enough to ‘fix’ the housing market
  • Two fifths (43 per cent) don’t think will make a difference while 39 per cent think the proposals could positively impact the market, but can’t yet tell how.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “The number of sales agreed reaching a 10 year high indicates the housing market is moving in the right direction. However, FTBs need to be a priority – the number of sales made to the group dipped in February when it should be growing.  As house prices continue to rise, the market’s most vulnerable buyers are being priced out and the only way to address this is to increase housing stock. The Government have pledged yet again to build more homes, but our members aren’t feeling optimistic about the plans. If promises are kept and we see construction sites set up across the UK, we’ll be in a better position in a few years than the stark reality we will be facing if this doesn’t happen.”