Demand from first time buyers rising steeply, latest agency data suggests

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December 4, 2013 9:05 PM EST

Average UK house prices increased by 0.9% in October and are up 11.5% year on year, taking the average value of a home to £191,343, according to the latest data from haart estate agents which cover a network of over 100 branches around the country.

The data also shows that the average price paid by first time buyers increased by 3.2% month on month and by 6.1% annually to £152,593 and the UK government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme has fuelled a massive rise in new buyer enquiries.

The 92% rise in new buyer enquiries in the first week of October compared with the same time a year ago comes at a time when fewer properties are coming onto the market. In October new supply fell by 2% compared with the previous month.

First time buyer registrations were up 82.9% annually in London and 74.3% across rest of UK and the average age of first time buyers fell to 31.9 years, the first time it has been under 32 since April 2012. Also the average mortgage secured by first time buyers was up 5.5% on last year.

‘October was an unprecedented month for us with the volume of buyer enquiries up a staggering 92% in the first week of October compared to the same week in 2012,’ said Paul Smith, chief executive officer of haart.

But he pointed out that the firm is currently seeing only around 35% of valuations coming to market when previously this was around 50% so far fewer properties are for sale at a time when demand is rising.

‘Our message to potential sellers is sell, sell, sell as we just can’t get enough stock. Demand for first homes, in particular, is overwhelming and the supply is still extremely limited which is why the average price of such properties is up 6.1% annually,’ he explained.

‘There is no doubt that the catalyst for this was the advanced launch of Help to Buy’s second phase. First time buyers are now not only getting mortgages but also getting younger. Any second steppers, who provide the majority of homes for first time buyers, selling now are finding that their properties are snapped up quickly and at a very good price,’ he pointed out.

‘Sellers should act now and not wait for the New Year. The first time buyer comeback is definitely not abating and this is the message that sellers need to hear to oil the market sooner rather than later and to keep a lid on rising prices,’ he added.

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