Mortgage finance biggest obstacle for FTBs, say estate agents

Over half of estate agents say the lack of mortgage finance for first time buyers poses the single biggest threat to their business, according to a survey of 300 estate agents by Obligo.

A total of 21% said that ongoing weakness in the economy and rising unemployment following the public sector cuts announced in the Spending Review are the biggest threat to their businesses.

Only 10% saw falling house prices as the biggest threat, while 5% saw their competitors as the biggest challenge in their ongoing fight for survival.

Just 2% saw changes in the regulatory environment as representing the biggest threat to their business.

Chris Gardner, director at Obligo, says: “The difficulties first-time buyers are having securing mortgage finance, and finding the necessary deposit, often tens of thousands of pounds, is easily the biggest worry for most agents. If first time buyers are in short supply, agents are acutely aware that transactions all the way up the ladder suffer, too.

“Agents are also concerned about the outlook for the economy in the short- to medium-term. The economy may be growing but 2011 is shaping up to be an extremely challenging year as the axe falls on many public sector employees. Rising unemployment and falling consumer confidence could severely impact housing transactions.”