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Estate agents have more houses to sell than they have had available for more than eight months.
Firms across the country are reporting a surge of homeowners wanting to sell – but homes are sticking on the market because they are reluctant to decrease selling prices and buyers are still finding mortgages hard to find.
According to research by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the average estate agent had 290 homeowners register to sell in March – up by 22 from 268 in February.
The actual number of homes to sell was lower but still showed an increase on the previous month – up two to 70 – with sales static at an average eight per branch in February and March.
The market share for first time buyers slipped slightly, from 25% to 23%, but most estate agents see this as a blip rather than a trend affecting the year-on-year average.
NAEA President Michael Jones said: “We are pleased to see that the market has remained relatively stable despite the continued economic pressures that are making life very difficult for homeowners and those looking to enter the property market.
“The significant growth in demand for homes reported by our agents suggests that house-hunters are searching for a good deal on property before the traditional spike in activity over the Easter holidays.
“That said, the picture is still very varied across the country and significant economic barriers remain.
“Although the chancellor’s budget last month did grant some concessions to first time buyers, it didn’t go far enough to assist the wider property market. Rather than new build projects to help people onto the housing ladder, the government should instead be looking at ways to maximise mortgage availability.”
Meanwhile, property website Rightmove has observed a glut of unsold properties on the market and claimed sellers were asking for unrealistic prices.
Sellers in England and Wales increased asking prices for the fourth consecutive month during the four weeks to April 9 – by 1.7% to leave them 6% higher than at the beginning of the year.
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