Country houses for sale

First time buyers return

First-time buyers re-emerging to buy property could be the first sign that the recent Government intervention on stamp duty is starting to work.

According to research from the National Association of Estate Agents, the number of sales per agent increased for the first time since January, from an average of five sales in August to six in September.

The average percentage of first-time buyers on agents’ books in September was 9.5%, a rise from 8.3% the previous month.

‘First-time buyers seems to be returning, says Chris Brown, president of the NAEA. ‘This is most likely due to the Government’s decision on Stamp Duty last month. While the announcement is not applicable to all regions across the UK, it might have had an affect on this market group.’

For first-time buyers with funding in place, now is the perfect time to buy a home, adds Mr Brown. ‘However, the NAEA continues to urge the Government to review the market holistically and offer this group a Stamp Duty holiday.’

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House hunters also are on the increase, says the study. The number of those looking to buy a home on agents’ books increased again this month from 207 in August to 211 in September. The NAEA believes this means there still are buyers who are interested in buying or who need to move.

‘There are buyers out there, no question,’ says NAEA member Martin Paterson in Scotland. ‘But the lack of confidence and mortgage funds still are the main obstacles. We have the largest amount of stock we have ever had, but sales are down around 40% compared to last year.’

Consumers still are cautious, with many continuing to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude and only moving, when necessary, adds the NAEA’s Mr Brown.

‘Those who are not desperate to move are staying put in their homes and waiting for some stability to be restored across all sections of the market.’