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Friday 16th of October 2009
September 9, 2009    

Estate agents optimistic on summer figures

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by Gill Montia

In its August housing market survey, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reveals that the expected summer dip in the UK housing market has been less than expected.

The number of prospective purchasers registered with estate agents decreased to 238, compared with 292 in July, and the average number of sales agreed per branch fell from 8.6 to 7.6.

The average number of properties available for sale per branch increased from 59 to 64, and the gap between asking and selling prices widened from 7.5% in July to 11% in August, on average.

However, the rise in properties for sale is seen by the NAEA as positive because it reflects the fact that buyers successful in finding properties are putting their own homes up for sale.

In addition, the percentage of first-time buyers entering the market increased from 22% in July, to 36% in August and as first-time buyers often form the basis of chains, the NAEA is predicting that the rise could lead to a general improvement in the market, if sustained.

Latest figures from the Bank of England also point towards a continued recovery, with mortgage approvals rising by a 5% in July, compared with June.

The increase marked the sixth consecutive month of improvement, with approval levels for July 50% up on a year earlier.

Analysts suggest that the level of approvals in July could mean that figures for the autumn will be livelier than anticipated.

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