First timers are flocking to buy

Jade Thomas & boyfriend looking at First Time buyer properties''For Courier magazine feature
Jade Thomas & boyfriend looking at First Time buyer properties''For Courier magazine feature

THERE has been a surge of first time buyers coming through estate agents’ doors in recent months, as they try to beat the clock on the end of the stamp duty holiday.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), says their members have seen more first-time buyers in January than at any point in the previous eight months.

The per centage of overall house sales that went to first timers also increased for the third month in a row, to 23 per cent.

Since March 2010, first-time buyers purchasing properties costing between £125,000 and £250,000 have been exempt from stamp duty in a move designed to kick-start the housing market; from 25 March 2012 they will pay 1% on those homes.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) suggest buyers are attempting to beat the deadline to save money. With the average first-time buyer property costing about £130,000, buyers typically stand to save £1,300.

But in north Derbyshire, agents report that it’s not just first time buyers who are returning to the market.

Mat Barnes of Spire Estates in Chesterfield said: “The number of houses sold through Spire Estates is up 68% compared to 2011 figures and I understand other local agents are also reporting healthy sales.

“There has been a real buzz in our office & it’s been great to see buyers return. The average sold value over this period is £120,000 – so under the stamp duty threshold.

“I believe that the demand for house buying is generally on the increase, rather than a rush to buy before the stamp duty holiday ends.

“Confidence is returning to the market which is the stimulus to the increased activity.

“All we can do is hope that confidence continues to build and we can return to a normal healthy local housing market.

“It will be interesting if the chancellor helps the housing market in his budget – maybe the stamp duty holiday will be extended or the £125,000 threshold increased.”