According to recent research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the number of house hunters currently registered per branch is now at the highest level recorded in eleven years.
The NAEA Market Report found that demand was at an eleven year high in June, however they have reported that this month has seen a further 5% increase in the number of house hunters looking to buy – an average 462 per branch, compared to 439 last month. This is the highest recorded since August 2004, when an average 582 house-hunters were recorded per NAEA branch.
Available housing also increased in July, jumping 25% from an average of 44 properties available per NAEA member branch in June, to 55 in July. These levels have not been seen in almost two years, when 57 houses on average per branch were recorded in September 2013. However, the number of sales made in July remained static from May and June, with just nine per branch, indicating that although housing stock is starting to increase, it remains a struggle to complete a purchase.
The report also reveals that the number of sales made to first time buyers continued to fall in July, with the group now accounting for just 23% sales. This has fallen from 24% in June and 29% in May. However, it is an increase on last year, when only a fifth (20%) of sales were made to first time buyers in July 2014.
Managing Director of National Association of Estate Agents, Mark Hayward said “Typically, we’d expect to see sales taking longer to complete during the summer months, as buyers and sellers are on holiday. It is alarming however, that the number of sales being made to first time buyers is steadily falling. Having said that, the fact that there is more housing coming on to the market means that hopefully over the next few months we’ll see activity in the market increasing and more sales completing, to respond to the growing army of house hunters we’ve seen emerging over the last few months.”
“The truth of the matter is though, there simply aren’t enough houses to meet growing demand, and until we see more physical bricks and mortar, there may be no hope in solving the housing crisis. It’s also alarming that the number of sales being made to first time buyers is steadily falling; with reports of house prices increasing and expectations of rising in the future, first time buyers will continue to be pushed out of the market.”