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Sales boost to first-time buyers in March

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25/04/2016
Buy-to-let Stamp Duty reforms could trigger further increases in sales to first-time buyers
Sales boost to first-time buyers in March

There was a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel for first-time buyers in March, as property sales to FTBs were up and the supply of available property jumped by over 50%.

The National Association of Estate Agents noted that three in 10 (28%) of total sales made in March were to first-timers, an increase of four percentage points from February.

Plus two fifths (39%) of estate agents said they expect the buy-to-let Stamp Duty reforms to increase availability for first-time buyers, as property investors back away. More than a third (36%) also reckon that sales to FTBs will pick up further, due to less competition for properties.

Drop in demand, surge in supply

Last month, the supply of houses available to buyers soared by more than half (54%) – from 35 properties available to buy per branch in February, to 54 in March. Demand decreased over the same period, with agents reporting an average 417 house hunters registered per member branch – down from 463 in February.

Estate agents also reported a drop in the number of properties selling for more than asking price. Only 7% of agents saw this happen in March, compared to 11% in February.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: “In the last few months first-time buyers have had to compete with landlords for the same properties and those landlords have really pushed hard to complete ahead of the rise in Stamp Duty.

“Now, in theory, things should get easier for first-time buyers as those seeking to buy to let will tail off.”

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