The number of house sales agreed in the UK rose to a 10-year high in February 2017, according to figures released by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark.
Last month saw 11 house sales agreed per estate agent branch. The last time this figure surpassed 10 per branch was in September 2007, indicating that buyer confidence is growing. This is up from eight per branch in January and six in December.
Of the sales made in February, nearly three quarters were below the original asking price.
And the proportion of sales that were agreed for first time buyers fell by 22 per cent, down from 30 per cent in January.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark said: “The number of sales agreed reaching a 10 year high indicates the housing market is moving in the right direction. However, first time buyers need to be a priority – the number of sales made to the group dipped in February when it should be growing. As house prices continue to rise, the market’s most vulnerable buyers are being priced out and the only way to address this is to increase housing stock.”
According to the report, the government’s housing white paper, which aims to reform the housing market and boost the supply of new homes in England, does not inspire much confidence in estate agents. Only seven per cent of estate agents expect the solutions outlined in the document to be enough to fix the housing market, and 43 per cent do not believe the proposed remedies will make a difference.
“The government has pledged yet again to build more homes, but our members aren’t feeling optimistic about the plans. If promises are kept and we see construction sites set up across the UK, we’ll be in a better position in a few years than the stark reality we will be facing if this doesn’t happen,” Hayward said.
Yesterday property consultancy JLL reported housebuilding in the capital had fallen 75 per cent thanks to falling house prices, with separate figures showing a fifth of Londoners think house prices will fall because of Brexit.