• Number of house hunters registered with estate agents increased from 240 in February to 268 in March – a 12 per cent increase
• Number of sales agreed per agent increased from eight in February to nine in March
• Average number of properties available for sale fell from an average of 74 in February to 67 in March
• The number of first time buyers (FTBs) held strong, from 24 per cent in February to 23 per cent in March
• The average selling price across all house types in March was 6.38% lower then the actual asking price
The number of people looking for houses increased substantially – by around 12 – per cent. The NAEA has maintained that demand for property has not diminished throughout the slump – these figures suggest that those people who were holding back from getting onto the ladder are now beginning to re-enter the market.
The number of sales per agent also increased again to nine – the largest average figure for more than a year and a great source of optimism for the industry. This is particularly welcome given that a significant proportion of buyers – 23 per cent – were first time buyers.
However despite these reasons for optimism the market remains in difficulties, as is demonstrated by the fact that house prices fell a further 6.38 per cent, on average, across all types of property in March.
NUMBER OF HOUSE HUNTERS
This month the number of house hunters registered with estate agents increased from 240 in February to 268 in March.
This is a very positive indicator for the industry as it reveals that the number of people looking for property is now at its highest figure for more than a year. This is likely to demonstrate that those people who were holding back from buying property while prices plummeted, now believe that the end is in sight and that a bargain could be found. It possibly also reflects a greater confidence that they will be able to get access to finance.
SALES PER AGENT
The number of sales per agent has increased from an average of eight in February to nine in March. This is the highest figure for more than a year and, coupled with last month’s increase, is the first real positive sign that the increase in activity seen in the market since the beginning of the year is translating slowly into new sales. This is a great source of optimism for estate agents, as sales have now risen every month since December of last year.
Estate agents had, on average, 67 properties on their books in March, compared to 74 in February. The average number of house on sale at each estate agency has now fallen consistently since an annual high in December. This is a potentially worrying indicator, as it suggests that sellers are not confident of getting the best possible price for their property. It is likely to reflect a view that the period of consistent house price falls is coming to an end – meaning those with property to sell feel it might better serve their interests to delay for a number of months and try to catch an upturn.
FIRST TIME BUYERS (FTBs)
The number of first time buyers has fallen very slightly each month since it jumped at the beginning of this year, and now stands at 23 per cent – however despite this small fall it is still a real cause for optimism, compared to last year. The demand for housing amongst first time buyers remains very strong, and when they can get access to finance then they are ready and willing to buy a property.