The July report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has revealed both good and bad news with regard to the current state of the UK housing market. The good news is that the demand for housing has increased along with housing availability. The bad news is that according to their figures, the amount of first time buyers continued falling throughout July.
Continued Decrease of First Time Buyers
From consisting of 29% of the market in May, first time buyers now consist of only 23%. However, while the continued drop isn’t healthy for the market, that rate of decline has slowed considerably and is only a 1% drop from June, which had seen a 5% drop from May. It is also still higher than the percentage of the market consisting of first time buyers from July last year, which was just 20%.
The managing director of the NAEA, Mark Hayward, admitted it was alarming that the number of first time buyers continues to fall, however he also noted that the summer months can be notoriously difficult to complete sales due to buyers and sellers often enjoying holidays. He was also hopeful that the increases in housing availability over the coming months could revitalise first time buyer activity with more sales being completed.
House Hunter Numbers Increase
This latest NAEA report is a lot more optimistic for the housing market on the whole. It reports that the number of people actively seeking to buy new property has risen from an average of 439 per registered NAEA branch to 462, which is an impressive increase of 5%. This is a new peak for the last decade, with the previous high point coming eleven years ago in August 2004 when the number of house hunters reached an average of 582.
Crucially, available housing has increased in tandem with the rise in house hunter numbers. The amount of available properties reached an average of 55 per registered NAEA branch, which is a 25% increase on the figures for June, which were an average of 44 per registered branch.
While this is good news for the housing market, we will likely have to wait for the end of these summer months before seeing any progress with regard to completed sales. The amount of sales hasn’t increased or decreased since May, so while housing stock has risen, it’s clear that completing sales during the summer can be much more complicated than during the other months of the year. With autumn practically upon us, we will hopefully start seeing those sales numbers increasing very soon.