Buyer demand has reached pre-EU referendum levels, while few agents have reported sales stalling since the Brexit vote, figures from the NAEA suggest.
The NAEA’s latest Housing Market Report for September found the average number of house hunters registered per member branch increased from 287 in August to 333.
This is up 16% on August and slightly above the 330 recorded in June 2016.
But while demand may be increasing, the number of houses available to buy decreased marginally in September to 40 per branch. This is a decline from 41 properties per branch recorded in August, which was the highest level seen since March this year.
The number of sales agreed rose by 12.5% in September to an average of nine per branch, but the previously buoyant first-time buyer market may be losing ground.
Members said 23% of sales were to first-time buyers in September, a decrease of five percentage points from August and the lowest level seen since November last year when it was 21%.
Just one in ten estate agents (12%) told the NAEA’s report that they had seen sales to first-time buyers stall since the Brexit vote, whereas two in five (41%) have witnessed no change in activity.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: “This month’s report proves that buyer confidence is growing, which is obviously reassuring, given that we expected uncertainty following Brexit.
“Although supply has dropped marginally, this does not concern us as it’s still higher than the levels we saw between April and July.
“However, it is worrying that the number of sales being made to first-time buyers have fallen to the lowest number in 10 months.
“The fact the Government’s Help to Buy housing scheme is due to close this year might pose more of a challenge for those who were relying on this to help get their foot on the property ladder.
“We now look ahead to the Autumn Statement and look forward to seeing what plans the Government puts in place to assist buyers towards their goal of home ownership.”
* September figures from the British Bankers’ Association show house purchase approval numbers are 15% lower year-on-year and 3% down annually in the first nine months of 2016 at 40,533. Gross mortgage borrowing of £12bn in the month was 2% lower than in September 2015.