Olympic fever distracts buyers and sellers

NAEA agents have attributed this slowdown to the start of the Olympic events in London at the end of the month, which proved a distraction for prospective buyers and sellers and compounded the traditionally quiet summer holiday period.

The average agent in July had 293 registered house hunters, down slightly from 294 in June. Supply was also down slightly, with agents reporting an average of 61 properties on their books, compared to 63 in June.

The percentage of sales being made to first time buyers (FTBs) also decreased from 19% to 18%. Despite these decreases, sales remained at an average 7 per branch for the fifth consecutive month.

Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA, said: "As anticipated, the build-up and opening few days of the main Olympic events in July had a negative impact on activity in the UK housing market.

"Particularly in the London regions, our agents found that many buyers and sellers were opting to postpone viewings and completions on properties until late August and into early September."

"The drop in first time buyer levels is a continuing concern for the NAEA, especially in light of recent announcements from some of the major high street lenderswhich detail increases in rates on some mortgage products.

"We are hopeful that this week’s appointment of Mark Prisk MP as the new Housing Minister will signal a more concrete commitment of support from Government to ensure more noticeable and sustainable improvement in the housing market."

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