House hunters let down by UK lenders

The average number of sales agreed per branch stayed at eight for the fourth month in a row. But the percentage of sales to first time buyers increased from 21% in April to 24% in May. The average number of properties for sale per branch decreased slightly from 69 to 68.

According to the NAEA, the combination of large deposit demands, pressure on household finances and the gloomy economic picture for the UK is causing stagnation in the housing market.

President of the NAEA, Wendy Evans-Scott said: "Demand for property remains consistent but the barriers to buying are proving impossible to overcome for the vast majority of consumers.

"Our members have likened the housing market to an obstacle course, with many falling at the first hurdle as the finance required to buy just isn’t available. If they can actually get finance they are struggling to find the right property as there is not enough supply to offer the choice and then they still have to find the money to pay for Stamp Duty.

"Sales have continued at a similar level thanks in part to increased activity within the £1million + homes category with significant interest from foreign buyers in London and the South East. But there are severe restrictions elsewhere in the market as buyer interest has failed to translate into transactions.

"The banks must find a balance between the loose lending of the boom and the rigidity of the current lending rules; house buyers need the Government to act in a sensible and proportionate way by encouraging the banks to offer adequate financial help to buyers."

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