Housing supply on the increase as house hunters stay serious

Last month saw an increase of nearly ten per cent (9.6) in the supply of houses coming on to the market, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

Figures from its September Housing Market Report showed a leap in properties entering the market, up from an average of 52 in August to 57 in September – putting a halt to four consecutive months of decline since April 2013.

NAEA members also reported a drop in the number of house hunters registering with agents, down from a recent high of 322 in August to 314 in September.

But house sales kept steady with the average number of sales agreed remaining the same in September as it was in August at an average of nine per branch, suggesting that those house hunters who were active in the market were serious in their pursuit for a home.

First time buyers also remained strong with one in four (25 per cent) of all properties sold by NAEA members being sold to first timers.

With the economy strengthening and competitive mortgage products readily available many house hunters were up-sizing rather than down-sizing.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of all properties sold in September were due to house buyers wanting to up-size from their existing property, whereas, only a quarter (24 per cent) were looking to down-size.

NAEA member agents also found that seven out of ten (71 per cent) properties sold for less than the asking price.

More than one in five (22 per cent) sold for the original price and just seven per cent of properties sold for more than the asking price.

Jan Hytch, president of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “It will still be some months before we can assess fully the impact of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

“Over the past few months we have noticed a drop in the supply of properties with the view that buyers were holding out until the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme went live in the new year.

“However, with the scheme now available earlier than anticipated, sellers looking to take advantage of the predicted increase in demand are now beginning to release their properties into the market.

“The numbers of house hunters may have dropped slightly from August but sales have remained steady.

“This means that those looking for properties are committed and are still snapping up homes at an impressive rate.

“However, with the rise of serious house hunters, sellers are still being flexible in their approach to accepting offers and are willing to make a deal on their property – as shown by the vast majority of houses that are still being sold for less than the asking price.

“With a wealth of government-supported schemes now available and lenders still offering competitive rates, we expect the housing market to remain strong.

“That said, buyers still need to do thorough research before committing themselves to a mortgage product.

“Seek advice from NAEA agents who will be happy to provide vital information and point you in the right direction.”