Sales to first time buyers in the UK fall to eight month low

Sales to first time buyers in the UK fell in October to the lowest figure seen since February and demand dropped 11% month on month, the latest data shows.

Overall the number of properties on the market increased marginally yet the number of sales agreed remained the same, according to the October housing report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The proportion of sales made to first time buyers fell even lower to 22% in October, the lowest it’s been since February when the same amount were recorded. In September, the number of sales to first time buyers stood at 23%.

The report also reveals that the number of sales agreed per branch is yet to pick up following the quieter summer months, remaining stagnant at eight on average per branch since July.

Despite having a significant increase in September, the number of house hunters registered at estate agents dropped 11% from 394 to 349 per branch on average while the number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books increased marginally from 41 in September to 42 in October.

The number of properties that sold for more than the asking price rose for the first time since July to 4% while the number of homes which sold for less than asking price dropped to 78%, down 4% from September.

‘First time buyers have felt locked out of the market for some time and our figures continue to highlight how the problem is only getting worse,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA chief executive.

‘Following the announcement of the abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers in last week’s Budget we hope to see more first time buyers coming to the market and making their dream a reality,’ he explained.

‘We do however need to realise that if we don’t have the supply to meet the increased demand from first time buyers it’s likely we’ll see house prices increase,’ he added.