First Time Buyers stamp duty relief has impact
THE Chancellor’s First Time Buyer stamp duty relief seems to be having the desired effect, as sales to the group rose in February.
According to the latest Housing Report from NAEA Propertymark, first time buyer sales sat at 29% in February, up slightly from 27% in January.
NAEA Propertymark (formally National Association of Estate Agents) is the UK’S leading professional body for estate agency personnel.
Their figures show that this year’s February sales were the best since 2015. Last year they stood at 22% and in 2016, only 24% of sales were made to the group.
The average number of sales agreed per branch rose from seven in January to eight in February – the highest amount since October 2017.
However the number of prospective house hunters fell by 16% during the month – from 367 registered per branch, to 309.
Year on year this is down by 28 per cent, as agents had 425 house hunters registered per branch in February 2017.
In line with demand, the number of properties available for sale per branch dropped from 36 in January to 35 in February.
Also of those which sold, 74% went for less than the original asking price, with 4% selling for more than the asking price.
The rate of properties which sold at asking price stood at 22% – the highest level since June 2016.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “Since the Chancellor cut stamp duty for first-time buyers, there have been a good level of sales to the group, but they haven’t rocketed.
“Our members have noticed FTBS holding off on making purchases since the rule was introduced opting instead to save for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief.
“This may be one reason why sales are up but not as high as we might expect; the other reason is that the cost of buying is still very high, and FTBS are still finding it difficult to save for their deposit.“