Tue 29 Mar 2016 View all news articles

Estate agents report surge in buy-to-let activity

Estate agents have reported an increase in the number of buy-to-let investors trying to push sales through before the April stamp duty deadline.

According to the National Association of Estate Agents, over eight in 10 (85%) estate agents reported an increase in the number of buy-to-let investors looking beat the stamp duty changes on second homes in February.

The NAEA said that demand for housing was the highest level for 12 years in February, with an average 463 house hunters registered per member branch – the highest since August 2004 when 582 were registered per branch. This is following an increase in January when estate agents reported 453 per branch, the highest since July 2015.

A quarter (24 per cent) of total sales made in February were to first time buyers (FTBs), a decrease of five percentage points from January, as mounting pressure from investors increased competition.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: “It is evident from February’s report findings that we’ve seen a real sense of urgency from landlords trying to complete on sales ahead of the stamp duty reforms– which now come into force next week. However, the mounting pressure and increased demand for housing has meant that first time buyers have had to compete with landlords for property and as a result they have lost out.

“We would like to say that come April things will look better for first time buyers. Schemes like the Help to Buy ISA, Help-to-Buy scheme and the new Lifetime ISA all sound great on paper, and there’s no doubt that some young people will definitely benefit from them. The crux of the problem though is that there is still a huge issue with supply and until we build more homes, and crucially the right sort of homes, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking we are doing enough to help people buy their own home.”

Source: What Mortgage

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