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First-time buyers offer ‘glimmer of hope’

More first-time buyers, but prices contine to fall

The proportion of first-time buyers entering the housing market increased for the third month in a row
in November.

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The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said 10.4% of all properties sold during the month were bought by first-time buyers, up from a low of just 8.3% in August. It said the improvement offered a “glimmer of hope” among otherwise gloomy statistics as the property market suffered from its traditional seasonal downturn.

According to Which? first-home-buyer advice report author Kate Faulkner: ‘It’s not all doom and gloom for people trying to get into the property market. With a little bit of hard work, there are still ways to get your foot on that all-important first rung of the property ladder.’

Fewer sales, fewer buyers

House prices continued to fall during November, while there was also a dip in both the number of sales agreed and the number of house hunters in the market. The NAEA said the Christmas slowdown meant that the full impact of recent interest rate cuts and Government announcements to help the housing market would not be felt until the New Year.

Whether you’re house-hunting or an owner who wants to check you’re getting the best deal, Which? experts compare thousands of deals every week to help you . And if you’re looking to to one with a lower rate, Which? can help you. 

Hope for 2009

Chris Brown, president of the NAEA, said: “November, and indeed December, is always a quiet time for the housing market because people are reluctant to move home over the festive period.

“Bearing that in mind, and after what has been the most difficult year for the market in a very long time, these figures are definitely not as bad as expected.

“In fact, while it may seem a meagre offering, the glimmer of positive news that some of these figures reveal can give estate agents across the country some hope for a more prosperous 2009.”

Research carried out for the Building Societies Association (BSA) pointed to a brighter market in 2009. The group found that 46% of people now thought it was a good time to buy a property, up from 34% in September and just 27% in July.

There is also a perception that mortgages are now more affordable, with just 37% of people worried about the affordability of monthly mortgage repayments, down from 70% in July.

But as the economy heads in to recession, a lack of job security is now seen as the biggest barrier to buying a home, cited by 58% of people, while 56% still thought buyers would face problems getting the mortgage they needed.

On the ladder

If you or your children wish to get on the property ladder, Which? offers good, comprehensive advice. Back it up by using the . Or if you already own property, find out how the credit crunch will impact your mortgage. 

:: YouGov questioned 2,133 people during December for the BSA.

© Press Association 2008

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