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Members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reported that the housing market in September still provided challenging times for its members but that the re-emergence of first time buyers may be the first sign that the recent Government intervention is beginning to work.

The research also showed that the number of sales per agent rose for the first time since January from an average of five sales in August to six in September.

Chris Brown, president of the NAEA, comments: “It is clear that certain factors are in motion within the property market, with a decision being made on stamp duty last month, but this is still not enough. As property prices continue to drop the Government needs to take action and make some drastic changes to restore confidence.

“It is evident from the results that despite some positive indicators, consumers are still cautious with many continuing to adopt a wait and see attitude and are only moving if it is necessary. Those who are not desperate to move are staying put in their homes and waiting for some stability to be restored across all sections of the market.

“First time buyers however, seem to be returning. This is most likely due to the Government’s decision on stamp duty last month. Whilst the announcement is not applicable to all regions across the UK, it might have had an affect on this market group. For those first time buyers who have the correct finances in place, now is the perfect time to buy a home. However, the NAEA continue to urge the Government to review the market holistically and offer this group a stamp duty holiday.“

First time buyers are re-emerging

September shows that the average percentage of first time buyers on agents books is 9.5%, which is an increase from 8.30% the month before, this could suggest that the stamp duty announcement last month has had an affect and restored some confidence.
Sales per agents increases

The number of sales achieved per agent increased in September to 6. This is positive news and again reiterates that buyers are still interested in purchasing a home, if they have the correct finances in place.
The time between instruction and sale increases

In September the average time between instruction and sale rose to 14.13 weeks from 8.64 in September 2007, which indicates that agents need to work so much harder to secure a sale.
The number of house hunters continues to increase

The average number of house hunters on agents books rose slightly again this month from 207 in August to 211 in September, suggesting that there are still buyers who are interested in buying and/or who need to move.
However, this month’s figure in comparison to September 2007 is considerably less and is no doubt a result of the current state of the market and the affects of the credit crunch. It is evident that the last few months have been tough and this has affected consumer confidence. Homebuyers are still keen but many are holding back to see what will happen to the market over the coming months.
Housing stock remains stable

The number of properties on agents books has remained the same this month at an average of 91. This might suggest that people are still keen to move if they can find the right buyer at the right price.
The percentage of agreed sales which have fallen through has increased this month to 11.72 compared to 10.22 the month before which is slightly concerning as it might mean that more buyers are lacking confidence in the market. This lack in confidence could be a result of the credit crunch, with worries of job uncertainly increasing, along with living costs rising.

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