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Buyer demand increases as property supply falls, says NAEA

Demand from prospective house-hunters increased by nine per cent in April, while the supply of available homes fell, estate agency data shows.

The number of sales made to first-time-buyers also decreased, according to the figures from the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark.

The trade body says that the housing market had previously swung in favour of buyers, but the pendulum has now swung back the other way.

Demand from prospective buyers grew by 9 per cent in April.

On average, estate agents had 337 house-hunters registered per branch, compared to 308 in March.

This is 13 per cent lower than last year as in April 2017 when the figure stood at 381.

Meanwhile, the supply of homes available to buy fell from 40 in March to 33 on average per branch in April.

Month on month, the number of sales agreed remained the same, with eight per branch in April.

However, the percentage made to first-time buyers dipped from 26 per cent in 2017, to 24 per cent.

Year on year, sales to first-time buyers continue to fall.

In April 2017, 25 per cent of sales were made to first-time buyer, down from 26 per cent in 2016 and 2015 and 28 per cent in 2014.

NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward says: “Last month our findings indicated that we were entering what looked like a buyer’s market, but this month, the dial has swung back in the favour of sellers.

“With demand on the up, and the supply of available homes falling once again, buyers will find themselves facing stiff competition from other house-hunters.

He adds: “This is particularly difficult for first-time buyers who traditionally have less bargaining power on price, so will struggling to enter bidding wars with second or third steppers.

“The Government is working to improve the house buying and selling process, which is music to our ears, but until more homes are built and supply catches up with demand, the process will remain difficult.”

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