November saw the property market continue to behave sluggishly, says the latest house price report

The number of sales agreed per estate agent fell from seven in October to six in November, as the traditional end-of-year slowdown takes even fuller effect this year. House prices have continued to fall (the average price of a detached house fell to £287,922 from £291,592) with the numbers of those house-hunting dropping from 196 to 186.

The report, issued by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA.co.uk), says that the benefits of the recent interest rate cuts and Government announcements on VAT and so on will not be felt until the New Year when the market has a traditional bounce between the New Year and spring.

There is positive news though in the re-emergence of first-time buyers into the market, notes the report. This proves what the NAEA has already pointed out: that the demand for housing remains as First-time buyers made up 10.4% of total sales in November, as opposed to 9.7% in October.

‘The reduction in Bank of England lending rate and sharply falling asking prices have sparked the market into action for the first time in many months,’ said estate agent Richard Hair from Essex. ‘The number and quality of viewings have improved and increased levels of offers and sales have followed on nicely. However this optimism should be taken with a pinch of salt as prices are still falling.’