First-time buyers continuing to fuel housing market – Zoopla

Property portal Zoopla has suggested the housing market has continued to recover in the early part of 2023 as buyer demand for homes reached its highest level of the year after Easter.

Indeed, buyer demand for property remains 14% higher than 2019. This is, however, 42% lower than levels seen this time last year.

Yet, with greater availability of houses to buy – 66% higher than this time last year – prospective buyers now have more choice, which Zoopla says is having a tangible effect on new sales agreed, which are up 6% on 2019 and 10% ahead of the five-year average after Easter.

Regionally, Scotland and the North East are seeing high levels of new sales agreed thanks to more attractive affordability levels. In London it’s a similar story, with a sustained period of weak price inflation over the last six years also helping to improve affordability.

Zoopla added that first time buyers (FTBs) using a mortgage accounted for over one in three sales last year (34%). This made them the largest group of homebuyers after existing owners buying with a mortgage (31%) and cash buyers (25%).

“Housing market conditions continue to improve as buyers return to the market and more sales are agreed,” said Richard Donnell, Executive Director at Zoopla:

“House prices are posting very modest falls and are expected to be just 1% lower by the end of the year. The worst of the pricing adjustment appears to be behind us.

We expect first time buyers to have another strong year in 2023 having been the largest buyer group last year. They need more income to buy but are starting to look for smaller homes and get away from rapid growth in rents.”

Mark Manning, Managing Director at Manning Stainton & Northern Estate Agencies Group said:

“We have seen the market across our regions in the North of England show great resiliency with buyers still out looking in good numbers. The overall number of buyers searching may have fallen since a year ago but deeper analysis shows that when comparing with a more ‘normal market’ such as that of 2018 or 2019 there is little change, particularly in first time buyers who remain out in numbers searching for that first step on the ladder.”

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