Home buyer demand surges to highest level in 11 years
The number of house hunters registered per estate agency branch is at the highest level in 11 years.
Reporting on July, the NAEA said there was a further 5% rise in the number of applicants – an average of 462 per branch compared to 439 in June.
This is the highest recorded figure since August 2004 when an average 582 house hunters were recorded per branch.
However, supply also increased, jumping 25% from an average of 44 properties available per branch in June to 55 in July.
The number of sales made in July remained static from May and June, with nine per branch.
The NAEA said the number of sales made to first-time buyers continued to fall in July, with FTBs now accounting for just 23% of 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 FTBs in July 2014.
Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director, 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.”
Separately, Halifax research shows that buying with a mortgage works out far cheaper than renting the same property.
The lender calculates that the average three-bedroom house costs a first-time buyer £666 per month, while renting it would have cost £722.
It says this is a result of low mortgage rates and rising rents.