First-time buyers rise as property market slows


Sales to first-time buyers rose in September, accounting for 29% of all properties sold, according to a report published today. 

This is the highest proportion of sales to first-time buyers since May, when first-time buyers also accounted for 29% of property transactions.

Sales to first-time buyers were boosted by better mortgage provision for first- time buyers, according to the report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
Mark Hayward, managing director at the NAEA, said: “We saw an average nine sales going through per branch in September, which means that for each branch, around three sales were made [to first-time buyers].

“We’re seeing a whole range of new competitive mortgage products coming on to the market, which is likely to be encouraging first-steppers to take the plunge, as well as the fact that the ‘impending’ interest rate rise has now been pushed back to next year at the very earliest.”

The overall number of people looking to buy fell in September, correcting a surge in property hunters during the summer. Registrations per estate agent fell to 342 per branch, 26% lower than in July. The number of properties on the market also fell to 37 per branch, 31% fewer than in July.

Hayward said sales to first-time buyers would remain subdued until “substantial numbers” of new properties are built. He noted the Housing and Planning Bill, which was announced last week, was a step in the right direction.

He added: “If we could just get supply and demand to meet in the middle, the housing market would be functional again; it’s a real issue across the market at the moment. Developers are struggling to secure planning permission and labour is in short supply… It’s completely unsustainable.

“There are still nine house-hunters fighting for each property and new housing just isn’t being built quickly enough.”