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First-time buyers take control

20 April 2005
The number of first-time buyers doubled over the last month as the market tipped in the buyers' favour, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has revealed.

From a low of 10.1 per cent of total home purchasers in February, the number of first-time buyers reached 22.3 per cent last month according to NAEA figures.

Just under 40 per cent of estate agents across the UK reported an increase in first-timers in the wake of Gordon Brown's Budget announcement of the doubling of the stamp duty threshold to £120,000 on March 16th.

Whilst the number of first-time buyers has increased, the overall ratio of buyers to houses has tipped in purchasers' favour, standing at 5.3 compared with 15 earlier this year.

"Buyers remain the dominant force and are discovering they often have a wide choice of properties to choose from," said Richard Nair, president of the NAEA.

"However with vendors starting to include realism in their asking prices, sales are back on the up."

Research released by property website Rightmove on Monday revealed that asking prices reached a record high in March at an average of £197,539, but emphasised the fact that buyers are wielding the power to force sellers to lower their price expectations.

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