Property and mortgages

Estate agents report a surge in interest from buyers

Estate agents are reporting a surge in demand for property, with the average number of house hunters registered in each branch the highest for more than a decade.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), an industry umbrella group, said June’s figures had reached heights not seen for 11 years, with an average of 439 potential buyers registered at each branch of its members. The equivalent figure a month earlier was only 383.

But there was a fall in supply during the month, from 46 houses per branch to 44, and the widening gap between supply and demand suggests that prices are set to rise. The NAEA says the government needs to act soon to prevent this “worrying” trend.

“What we’re seeing is a market that lulled over the general-election period coming back to life in full force,” says NAEA managing director Mark Hayward.

“Buyers are feeling more confident and those who put their plans on hold over the election and political aftermath have kicked off their hunt, causing this massive jump in demand.

“There’s also an impetus to buy right now in light of the impending interest-rate rise as buyers fight to buy and fix mortgage rates. But the fact that demand is at an 11-year high without the housing stock to fuel it is bad news for the market.”

He adds: “The growing gap between supply and demand is worrying and clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done to plug this.

“The election was full of promises to build more houses, but now those promises need to be put into bricks and mortar to respond to demand.”