Thursday, September 27, 2012
The August housing market report from the National Association
of Estate Agents (NAEA) showed a slight decrease in both the supply
of property and demand from prospective buyers.
Its members reported the number of available houses on the
market decreased, moving from an average of 61 per branch in July
to 60 in August. Similarly, house hunter levels dropped slightly
from an average of 293 in July to just 288 in August per
In response to these latest figures, the NAEA is calling on the
new housing minister Mark Prisk MP to follow its 5-point plan to
make it easier for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder,
and less expensive for existing homeowners to move.
Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA said: "These latest figures
emphasise the acute atrophy that continues to restrict activity in
our housing market. While the 'Olympic Effect' did to an extent
impact the level of demand and supply, as it did with a number of
related industries, the underlying issue of lack of adequate
funding mechanisms is still the stumbling block, preventing many
prospective homeowners from getting onto the property ladder.
"This is a situation we have been striving to encourage the
Government to change for far too long. Market confidence is in
crisis. Concerns amongst potential buyers about job security, the
size of deposits required and prohibitive levels of Stamp Duty mean
that overall levels of home ownership are at their lowest rates for
"We hope the new housing minister Mark Prisk MP will consider
our action plan to bring a much needed injection of activity to
help promote stability and growth in the market."
The NAEA action plan calls on the Government to:
- 1. Introduce government regulation of
letting and sales agents
Estate agents and letting agents are currently
unregulated, meaning anyone can set up an agency without
appropriate qualifications or knowledge. The Government needs to
develop a nationwide regulatory regime, to ensure consumers are
protected across the UK.
- 2. Comprehensively reform Stamp Duty,
ruling out any new taxes on residential property
The current 'slab structure' of Stamp Duty
distorts the UK housing market and places a disproportionate burden
on first time buyers. The Government needs to modernise the duty,
moving away from this 'slab' structure to create a fairer, more
- 3. Provide support for first time buyers
looking to save for a deposit by increasing the annual limit for
ISAs and set up a Government-backed saving scheme
With 90 per cent of first time buyers now
needing support from their family to buy a home, it is vital that
the Government finds a way to incentivise people to save for a
deposit earlier in life.
- 4. Build significantly more homes to
Housebuilding should be the top priority for the new housing
minister, in light of the current crisis of supply of homes for
sale and rent. The Government must examine alternative methods to
increase supply such as transforming vacant high street property
into much-needed housing in certain areas of the country.
- Work closely with lenders to ensure that lending criteria are
While the NAEA recognises the need for responsible lending, this
shouldn't curtail sensible lending. Many first time buyers need to
borrow substantial amounts of money to get onto the housing ladder,
which is proving increasingly difficult and criteria becomes more
The housing market report also found that the number of sales
made by agents remained static for a record 6 consecutive months -
The average branch sold 7 properties in August.
Similarly, the percentage of sales made to first time buyers
remained static, making up just 18 per cent of overall sales in
July and August.