New buyers gain in slump

A SLOWDOWN in the housing market could tempt first-time buyers to take their first step onto the property ladder over the coming year, new research has shown.

Around 26 per cent of people who intend to buy a home will be doing so for the first time, up from a low of 22 per cent in July, according to property website Rightmove.

Confidence amongst first-time buyers is returning to the housing market as the prospect of lower house prices encourages would be homeowners to purchase a property.

A third of buyers now expect the cost of property to be lower in 12 months’ time than it is now, up from only a fifth during the previous quarter.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) confirmed a downward trend in the housing market today, as 49 per cent more surveyors reported a fall in house prices in October, down from 36 per cent in September, the worst figure since April 2009.

The organisation also said new buyer enquiries had dropped for the fifth consecutive month, and blamed a continued lack of mortgage finance and a generally cautious attitude from purchasers.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “Lower property prices might well strike fear into the hearts of property-owners, but it will be music to the ears of those eager to take their first step onto the property ladder.

“Recovery will be quicker if more sellers are willing to negotiate on price and in doing so make it easier for those purchasing for the first time. Everyone with an active involvement in the housing market should be doing their bit to welcome back first-time buyers with both open arms and open wallets”.