Demand from buyers increased in November

This is according to the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The association’s monthly housing market report found that the average estate agent branch had 241 house hunters registered in November. In October the figure was 218.

The report also found that sales levels remained constant for the fourth month in a row, with the average branch selling seven properties. This was particularly positive as the market is entering its annual seasonal slowdown, when activity traditionally slows.

However despite this evidence that sales will be made for people bringing their property to market, the number of registered sellers fell slightly in November. The average branch had 64 properties on its books, compared to 67 in October.

The percentage of sales being made to first-time buyers also fell – from 23% in October to 19% in November.

Michael Jones, President of the NAEA said: “There is still clear evidence of demand for property in the UK housing market. In fact, given the restrictions on mortgage lending and the approach of Christmas, the true level of demand is probably higher than indicated by our figures.

“These are not window-shoppers. Our agents are continuing to make sales and it is particularly pleasing to see sales figures remain constant at this time of the year.

“We would like to see more people bring their properties to market. There are two reasons why this isn’t happening. First, it’s coming close to Christmas and people don’t like to uproot their family during the holidays.

“Also, some sellers in our experience continue to have unrealistic expectations over the value of their property. These potential sellers are likely to be holding back in the hope of price rises during 2011.

“We believe that prices are likely to remain reasonably stable for the next 12 months, dependant on interest rates remaining low of course, and so we hope that this isn’t misplaced optimism.”