“Botched Budget” may slow buyer interest, says NAEA

The National Association of Estate Agents says chancellor Alistair Darling’s “botched Budget” has failed to capitalise on a boost in buyer interest.

The latest NAEA market report shows that the number of prospective buyers registering with estate agents grew by more than 12% between February and March.

Applicant numbers went from 240 per agent in February to 268 in March.

The trade body has welcomed the measures on mortgage guarantees from the chancellor, but says the Stamp Duty extension is nothing more than a “token gesture.”

Data from the NAEA shows that first-time buyers made up 25% of sales in January with the figure falling off slightly in March to 23%.

Chris Brown, president of the NAEA, says: “These measures by the chancellor will do little to consolidate that resurgence in interest.

“If the number falls again next month then we will know that confidence is dropping in the wake of a botched Budget.”

He adds: “There are measures in his Budget that are welcome – particularly the £500m commitment to improve the housing stock – but nothing has been done that will radically change the direction in which the market is headed.

“What we must hope for is that those positive signs in the market are able to take root and drag the market out of its slump – with or without help from the chancellor.”