Agency sales increased in January despite weather – NAEA

The number of people registering with estate agents to buy property also increased, from 251 in December to 291 in January. This also shows a 12-month improvement – the number of registered house hunters per agent in January 2009 was 242.

In contrast the number of houses available for sale fell from 59 per branch in December to 55 per branch in January.

The percentage of sales made to first-time buyers also increased from 19% in December 2009 to 23% last month.

NAEA President Gary Smith, said: "Our figures suggest that concerns expressed about the prospects for the market in 2010 may prove unfounded.

"This appears to be confirmed by the increased level of sales, which given the awful weather conditions is quite amazing. The dwindling housing stock on our members’ books reflected the increase in sales month on month, but this is a worrying trend that if continued will result in further upward pressure on prices.

"More encouragingly, the very important first-time buyer section of the market now makes up almost one in four purchases. This confirms their confidence in the market as well as their ability to obtain attractive mortgage deals."

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