Estate agents welcome increased numbers of sales to newcomers

Estate agents welcome increased numbers of sales to newcomers [Photo: oneinchpunch via iStock]

The end of 2016 saw a rise in the number of newcomers looking to get their foot onto the property ladder, according to a new report, which has shown that December was a record month for first-time buyers. 

According to the report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), December saw 32 per cent of all sales made go to first timers, which marks the fastest December seen since 2001. It was also a ten per cent higher reading than experienced in November, the report states. 

December was also a record for this time of year when it came to demand. According to the NAEA, there were more buyers looking to get themselves onto the property ladder - an average of 386 per branch - than at any time since 2003. 

Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director, said: "With demand at an all-time December high and sales to first time buyers at their highest on record, 2016 closed on a positive note following several months of uncertainty.

However, there remains a shortage of homes to buy in the market, even though there has been a rise in demand, which meant a 25 per cent fall in the number of completed sales overall in December. From November, the number of homes for sale grew by only two per branch on average to 41. 

"Despite an encouraging December, there remains a clear shortage of homes. We await the government’s housing white paper to see how it intends to tackle this and hope the market continues to improve for both buyers and sellers," said Mr Hayward. 

Overall, though, it was a good month for the market. November tends to be when the property sector sees a spike, before it all dies down in December before Christmas, but there was a bucking of this trend in 2016, as people continued to buy and look for homes into December.