Housing Report, August 2018


Key Findings

  • First-time buyer (FTB) sales hit the lowest level since August 2015
  • Demand from house hunters increased in August, while the supply of available properties fell

Sales to FTBs

  • FTB sales were strong in June and July, standing at 29 and 30 per cent respectively, but fell in August with just 20 per cent of sales made to the group
  • This is the lowest figure recorded since August 2015 when 20 per cent of sales were also made to the group.

Demand for housing

  • The number of house hunters registered per branch rose by six per cent month-on-month, from 303 in July to 320 in August
  • Year-on-year, however, demand is down seven per cent, as there were 343 prospective house hunters registered on estate agents’ books in August 2017.

Supply of properties and sales agreed

  • The number of properties available to buy fell for the first time since April, from 41 per branch in July to 40 in August [figure 1]
  • The number of sales agreed per branch increased marginally in August – from eight to nine.

First Time Buyers Percentage

Figure 1: Percentage of sales to first-time buyers

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward

Chief Executive

“Every year the housing market slows down over the summer. The kids are off school, it’s warm outside, and the allure of a few weeks on the beach is more attractive than house-hunting or trying to sell your home. Last month we saw FTBs taking advantage of these market conditions, with sales to the group rising to 30 per cent, and while we expected this to be short-lived, we hoped it would at least last the summer.

“In September, buyers typically storm the market in a bid to complete sales in time for Christmas. However, it looks like this year’s heatwave encouraged more house-hunters to stay at home in August and continue their searches, which has in turn increased competition and pushed FTBs out of negotiations.”