Sales at 10-year high – but most asking prices not met

The National Association of Estate Agents says the number of sales agreed rose to a 10 year high in February.

The NAEA says an average of 11 properties per branch were sold last month: the last time this figure surpassed 10 per branch was in September 2007.

The figure is also much higher than the January 2017 figure of eight sales per branch.

However, some 74 per cent of the sales made were below the original asking price.

There was also bad news for first time buyers; the proportion of sales to FTBs in January was 30 per cent but this dropped by over a quarter to 22 per cent in February.

The number of properties available to buy on agents’ books increased to 44 in February. In January, there were just 38 available per branch. This figure has increased by over a quarter from February 2016 when agents had just 35 properties available per branch.

The number of house buyers registered per member branch remained at 425 for the second month in a row.

“The number of sales agreed reaching a 10 year high indicates the housing market is moving in the right direction. However, FTBs need to be a priority – the number of sales made to the group dipped in February when it should be growing. As house prices continue to rise, the market’s most vulnerable buyers are being priced out and the only way to address this is to increase housing stock” says Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.

Meanwhile the association says a survey it has conducted shows just seven per cent of agents believing that the policies outlined in the government’s Housing White Paper were enough to ‘fix’ the housing market.

Some 43 per cent don’t think will make a difference while 39 per cent think the proposals could positively impact the market, but can’t yet tell how.

Mark Hayward says: “The government have pledged yet again to build more homes, but our members aren’t feeling optimistic about the plans. If promises are kept and we see construction sites set up across the UK, we’ll be in a better position in a few years than the stark reality we will be facing if this doesn’t happen.”


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Written by: Houseladder