Although consumer confidence has hit rock bottom in recent weeks, the latest figures published by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) indicate that the market for first time buyers is starting to pick up again.
The report shows that potential house buyers remain cautious before agreeing a sale in the current market conditions, and many adopt a 'wait and see' attitude as they are anxious to buy in a time when property prices continue to drop.
Those courageous enough to jump at the chance seem to realise they might benefit from the current market conditions, however. Chris Brown, president of the NAEA
, reports: "Members have reported that the first time buyer market is slowly increasing with 11.8 per cent shown as the percentage share of first time buyer sales in June."
"For first time buyers who have the adequate funds in place and can secure mortgages, now is a time they can operate as opportunists and take advantage of the market and the properties and prices currently available," he continues.
After a difficult start in the first months of 2008, the figures reported by estate agents in June show that, indeed, first time buyers are willing to regain a foot on the property ladder.
The proportion of first time buyer sales in June was 11.8 per cent, an increase of 1.2 per cent from May and a considerable rise from the same time a year ago, when the percentage was 9.8 per cent.
However, many would-be homeowners increasingly struggle to save up a large enough deposit to secure a first time buyer mortgage
with an affordable interest rate, while others are deterred from buying by increasing mortgage fees.
"Confidence needs to be restored and this can be achieved if the Government, Bank of England, mortgage lenders and various other bodies work together to ease the pressure," Chris Brown says.
He suggests the Government should cut stamp duty for first time buyers or to move the threshold altogether, adding: "In addition, the Bank of England needs to ensure the mortgage markets are steadier. If consumers continue to find it hard to obtain mortgages how can the market place expect to move forward?"
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