NAEA: ‘Sales remain high’

Politicians and banks must do more to sustain improvements in the housing market, Britain’s estate agents warn today, after activity stabilised in June.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) found that the average agent continued to make strong sales, despite having fewer properties available for sale resulting in slightly fewer people searching for a new home than in May. Agents also reported that buyers are increasingly prepared to pay what a seller asks for a property – after the difference between asking and selling prices shrank to just 1.9 per cent – down from a 6.3 per cent difference in June.

NAEA President Gary Smith said: “The housing market is in a far stronger position than it was 12 months ago. After several months of continuous improvement the market stabilised in June, ahead of an expected seasonal dip throughout the summer.

“The Government should scrap Home Information Packs and must pressure banks to ensure lending is available. We know that there is demand for property and that our professional agents are successfully finding buyers for their clients’ properties.

“It is in the interests of the UK as a whole that the upturn in the housing market that has been noted in the first half of 2009 is sustained and nurtured into a full recovery. The Government must do more to ensure that money that has been given to banks finds its way through the system and into the housing market.”

The average estate agent had 290 house hunters registered in June, down from 299 in May. They had 64 properties for sale, down from 69 in May and a high of 100 in December 2008. However agents continued to make sales, with the average professional agent selling 10 homes in June for the third month in a row, double the amount sold during the worst of the market downturn in August 2008.

Last week an independent survey commissioned by the NAEA found that almost a quarter of people – 22.5 per cent – are unable to find a mortgage that they qualify for anywhere in the market, and 56 per cent of those polled believed that a combination of relaxed restrictions and lower deposit requirements would increase the chance of them buying a property.

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