First-time buyers increase as prices drop

House prices across the UK plummeted in November, reveals the monthly market report from the National Association of Estate Agents.

There were glimmers of hope though as for the third month in a row the percentage of first-time buyers in the housing market increased.

From October to November, the average price of a flat fell from £118,334 to £114,288 while a terraced house reduced in value from £151,305 to £149,589.

The average semi-detached property, worth £199,905 in October, is now worth £192,042 while the average detached property fell in value from £291,592 to £287,922.

The number of sales per agent also fell from seven in October to six in November, but remains higher than the low point of five in August.

And the number of first-time buyers as a percentage of buyers rose for the third month in a row to 10.4%.

Chris Brown, president of the National Association of Estate Agents, says: “November, and indeed December, is always a quiet time for the housing market because people are reluctant to move home over the festive period.

“Bearing that in mind, and after what has been the most difficult year for the market in a very long time, these figures are definitely not as bad as expected.

“In fact, while it may seem a meagre offering, the glimmer of positive news that some of these figures reveal can give estate agents across the country some hope for a more prosperous 2009.

“The market is still waiting to feel the impact of recent interest rate cuts, and if the major lenders commit to making mortgages available to those who want to buy then the market should improve next year.

“For tens of thousands of people, their New Year’s Resolution as 2008 draws to a close will be to get onto the property ladder, or to move further up it. We must all do what we can to help them achieve that goal.

“The demand for property is there – so in 2009 we need political will, professional integrity and financial commitments.”