According to the report, buyers making their initial steps onto the housing ladder accounted for 29% of all sales during the last month, in comparison to 20% in August.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said that, ‘it’s obviously very positive to see that the number of sales being made to FTBs has risen this month. We saw an average nine sales going through per branch in September, which means that for each branch, around three sales were made to the group. We’re seeing a whole range of new competitive mortgage products coming on to the market, which is likely to be encouraging first steppers to take the plunge, as well as the fact that the impending interest rate rise has now been pushed back to next year at the very earliest.’
‘However, in order to ensure there is enough affordable housing on the market for FTB’s, we need the issue of supply and demand to be addressed in a big way. Until substantial numbers of new houses are built, we won’t see every FTB reach the bottom rung of the ladder,’ Hayward added.
So is the housing market on the correct path? The report suggest that the number of would-be homeowners registered per estate agent branch dropped during September, following a period of high and unsustainable demand in July and August.
On average, there were 342 potential buyers registered at every NAEA member branch during September. This indicated a drop of 16% from the 408 recorded in August and a 26% dip from July, where demand rose to an eleven year high, with 462 house-hunters recorded per branch.
Additionally, the number of properties available to purchase fell marginally TO 37 per member branch during September. This came after a large fall in the availability of housing stock from July to August, when the number of properties available slipped from 55 to 38.
FTB sales up by 9% in September
‘If we could just get supply and demand to meet in the middle, the housing market would be functional again; it’s a real issue across the market at the moment,’ noted Hayward. ‘Developers are struggling to secure planning permission and labour is in short supply. This means that the army of house-hunters looking to buy has out-grown the number of housing available at a rapid rate and it’s completely unsustainable.’
Mr Hayward went on to say, ‘the introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill-announced last week-is good news however. It includes an extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Association properties, which should help to increase supply in the housing market as homes that are sold through the scheme will be replaced on a one-for-one basis. Nonetheless it’s really important that in urban areas, replacement properties are built within the same local authority boundaries as the original homes that were sold, so that stock is replenished evenly across city regions.’
‘Demand has dropped 16% this month, and FTBs are making up a larger proportion of sales – which does indicate that the market is on the road to recovery, but it simply isn’t enough. Even with the promises outlined in the Housing and Planning Bill – there are still nine house-hunters fighting for each property and new housing just isn’t being built quickly enough,’ Hayward concluded.