NAEA sees positive market indicators

The National Association of Estate Agents Monthly Market Survey for August revealed that the expected summer ‘dip’ in activity was not as bad for the market as previously feared.

August saw a decline in the number of registered house-hunters, as expected for the summer holiday season. Despite this, however, sales remained relatively strong, with the average agent selling eight properties – compared to five in the same month last year.

Particular positive market indicators include the continued presence of first time buyers in the market – up to 36% in August. This is the sector that often forms the basis of chains and if sustained will lead to a general improvement in the market. As predicted by the NAEA over the past two months, the number of houses available to stopped falling and registered its first rise since April 2009.

The number of house hunters registered with estate agents decreased from 292 in July to 238 in August.

Given the cyclical nature of the housing market it was wholly expected that there would be a fall in demand for property in August, the most popular time for summer holidays. The drop-off was steep – but a quick comparison with the same month a year ago, available below, simply underlines the relative strength of the market today. Despite the drop in demand the number of house hunters is substantially higher than any of the last six months of 2008.

The number of sales agreed per branch decreased from an average of 8.6 in July to 7.6 in August.

Especially considering the drop-off in demand for property, the fact that agents were able to record relatively robust sales figures for August suggests that house hunters are increasingly able to find properties that they want at prices they are willing to pay. A comparison with the same month last year shoes how in 12 months the average agent increased the number of August sales from five to eight – proof that the market has improved. Indeed, despite the number of sales agreed per agent falling slightly for three months in a row, as expected across summer, the figure still exceeds any recorded in the last six months of 2008.

The average number of properties available for sale increased from 59 in July to 64 in August.

NAEA says a positive sign for the housing market is the first increase in the supply of houses available since April. While still a historically low figure, the increase is to be welcomed and is likely to be the beginnings of an upward curve, caused as those buyers successfully find properties and so put their own houses up for sale and become sellers. This process was predicted by the NAEA two months ago.

The percentage of first time buyers (FTBs) increased from 22% in July to 36% in August.

The percentage of properties sold to first time buyers rose in August after dropping for two successive months. FTBs show often form the basis of selling chains. A comparison with 12 months ago demonstrates the extent of the resurgence of first time buyers in the UK market – percentage wise four times as many sales being made to FTBs than in August 2008.