Number of first time buyers in UK at its highest since 2009, NAEA data shows

The percentage of first time buyers in the UK purchasing homes has increased to the highest level seen since 2009, however the supply of houses have fallen again, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Figures from the NAEA November Housing Market Report show a jump in the number of first time buyers purchasing property, halting two consecutive months of decline. First time buyer figures increased from an average of 24% in October to 28% in November. 

The number of sales reported by NAEA members remains strong despite a slight drop to an average of nine sales per branch in November, down from 10 in October. Of the average of nine homes sold overall per branch, an average of two of these, 22%, was sold to a Help to Buy purchaser. The average number of house hunters also decreased in November. Figures were down from an average of 332 per branch in October to 292 per branch in November, a drop of 12%.

Despite positive first time buyer figures, the housing market is showing a tightening in supply. NAEA member agents reported another drop in the number of properties available for sale, down from an average of 53 in October to 51 in November, a drop of 4% month on month.

Alongside a decrease in supply, NAEA member agents found that 63% of houses in November sold for less than the asking price, demonstrating that sellers are still flexible when it comes to accepting offers on their property.

Also, some 62% of all property sales last month were due to house buyers wanting to up size from their existing property.

‘Financial security is one of the biggest factors that buyers have to consider when purchasing a home. The downturn has led to uncertainty and caused incomes to be squeezed; but with confidence in the economy beginning to grow, first time buyers are feeling positive and taking the leap onto the housing ladder,’ said Jan Hÿtch, NAEA president.

‘The second phase of the government’s Help-to-Buy scheme has created a platform that will allow those with low deposits to purchase a home and the uptake has been encouraging. The latter half of this year has seen an improving property market due to successful initiatives from the Government, supporting stronger buyer confidence,’ she explained.

‘However, more work needs to be done to ensure there are enough houses to meet demand. Failure to take action risks pricing out those looking to enter the housing market, even with the additional schemes and initiatives that have been put in place,’ she added.