House-buyer numbers slump as mortgage criteria tightens

26 March 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The number of house-buyers on the market has slumped, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The NAEA believes increased financial pressures are to blame, as the credit crisis begins to squeeze, mortgage criteria becomes stricter, and households are finding their income increasingly stretched.

According to the NAEA, members have reported a decrease in the number of house-buyers and first time buyers on books throughout February this year. The fall in activity on the housing market is, according to the NAEA, partially attributed to current market conditions, and the global credit crunch that seems to be impacting on the UK at present.

Commenting on the latest research, NAEA President, Stewart Lilly, said: "The figures reported in February echo the current climate of confusion that is clouding the property market at present.

"Invariably, the global credit crunch, especially the US situation, has had a knock on effect, which coupled with consumer inflation, is placing continuing pressure onto the property market."

The reported lull in house-buyer numbers, comes as Moneyfacts.co.uk reports a decrease in the number of leading high street lenders offering competitive mortgage deals. According to Moneyfacts.co.uk, only 27 per cent of the 250 top mortgages are offered by the top ten high street lenders, compared to the 75 per cent market share they took in 2006. These figures emphasise the effects the credit crisis is having on mortgage lending.

Moneyfacts.co.uk states that the findings indicate how large lenders may have suffered most at the hands of the credit crisis.

Denis Harvey, mortgage analyst from Moneyfacts.co.uk comments: "These results clearly show that the larger institutions, especially banks, are not offering the most competitive products. Failure to find funding could be one reason, but reliance on their brand name and our loyalty has to play a part.

Mr Harvey concluded: "In a time when many are struggling to find a suitable mortgage, these results show that it is definitely worth looking around for the best deal. Going for a smaller, less well known lender may well save you money.”

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