Sales to first-time buyers 'at highest level for 6 years'

Sales to first-time buyers 'at highest level for 6 years'

The number of sales to first-time buyers in the UK is continuing to rise, and is now at its highest level since 2009, according to new figures that have been released this week. 

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said that the number of sales per branch in the UK rose to nine on average in October. Of these, an average of 31 per cent across each branch were sold to first timers. 

According to the statistics, this represents substantial growth since the end of summer. In September, 29 per cent of sales were to first timers, while August had seen 20 per cent of transactions made by newcomers. This 11 per cent growth in just two months makes for a substantial change.

October was also the second month in a row that there was an increase in the proportion of homes sold to first timers, the NAEA said. It takes the number of first-time buyers who are able to get onto the ladder to its highest level for six years. 

This performance represents a significant moment for the market, especially given the fears that came about last April with the rise of the Mortgage Market Review and its regulations. After these were introduced, it was feared that many first timers would severely struggle to get themselves onto the property ladder for the foreseeable future as mortgage lenders were forced to be more stringent than ever. 

"It’s really promising that, for the second month running, the number of sales being made to first time buyers has risen. Competitive mortgage products and the increasing pressure of an interest rate rise could be encouraging first steppers to take the plunge, as well as the dwindling supply of rental housing stock, putting pressure on renters to buy," said Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.

Mr Hayward also went on to say that first-timer numbers may have been boosted in the past few months by the rising number of homes available to buy, with the number of properties per branch coming to market having grown by 16 per cent in October.