Consumer confidence in the housing market was still low in June, according to the National Association of Estate Agents, as agents were selling smaller numbers of properties. The numbers of house buyers on agents’ books were also lower – averaging 226 in June, compared with 247 in May, and make a stark contrast with the 322 reported in June last year.

The average number of properties on agents’ books also decreased to 94 last month from 97 in May; the average agent is now selling 6 properties per month, compared with 7 the three months previous.

‘The last few months have been a difficult time for both the buyer and the seller,’ said Chris Brown, NAEA President. ‘Consumer confidence is still low and this can be attributed to various economic factors including the continuing rising costs of living, the credit crunch and, of course, the shackles around the mortgage market.’

‘On the plus side, members have reported that the first-time buyer market is slowly increasing with 11.8% of buyers making their first purchase,’ says the report. ‘For first-time buyers who have the adequate funds in place and can secure mortgages, now is a time they can operate as opportunists and take advantage of the market and the properties and prices currently available.’