The National Association of Estate Agents: Number of house hunters hits an 11-year high

Jessica Morris
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The gap between supply and demand for housing is widening (Source: Getty)

The number of people hunting for a new home in Britain hit an 11-year high last month amid a dwindling housing stock and sky-high prices.

Figures released today by the The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) showed around 439 house hunters were registered to each estate agent branch in the UK last month. This was the highest since 2004.

Savvy house hunters are rushing to lock in low fixed-rate mortgages ahead of a widely anticipated rate rise by the Bank of England. Governor Mark Carney has said he expects the decision regarding when to hike interest rates from a record low 0.5 per cent will come into "sharper relief around the turn of this year".

But buyers are also becoming more active as the uncertainty which stalled sales ahead of the General Election subsides.

At the same time, the number of available house per estate agent branch fell to 44 in June, from 46 in May, suggesting that the gap between supply and demand is widening.

Additionally the number of homes sold to first-time buyers declined last month, falling to 24 per cent, from 29 per cent in the previous month.

"What we're seeing is a market that lulled over the general election period, coming back to life in full force," Mark Hayward, managing director of NAEA, said.

"Buyers are feeling more confident and those who put their plans on hold over the election and political aftermath have kicked off their hunt, causing this massive jump in demand."

"There's also an impetus to buy right now in light of the impending interest rate rise as buyers fight to buy and fix mortgage rates."

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