Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

First-Time Buyers Given a Chance as Conditions Ease

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

First-Time Buyers Given a Chance as Conditions Ease

Article excerpt

A slowdown in the region's housing market combined with the Government's recent concessions in stamp duty, has enabled more first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

The number of first-time buyers has doubled over the past month, from a low of 10.1pc last month to 22.3pc in March, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The NAEA say this dramatic return to figures last seen in 2002 appears to be an immediate reaction to the Chancellor's amendments to the stamp duty thresholds in his March Budget. First-time buyers are taking the opportunity to make the most of the market conditions, which have seen a halt to rising prices and a shift to a buyers' market.

Andrew Lawson, of Andrew Lawson Estate Agents in Jesmond, said: "More recently it's been a more positive situation for first-time buyers because in many areas the prices have come down to a more realistic level. This means there is a lot more potential for first-time buyers to get on to the property market.

"In the city centre and Jesmond, first-time buyers are opting for one-bedroomed flats. As you move out of the inner city areas, however, you can get a lot more property for your money. The Government's decision to raise stamp duty levels is a good thing, but it's questionable as to how significant it really is."

Estate agents reported mixed reactions to the change in stamp duty thresholds, according to the NAEA. Just under 40pc reported an increase in the number of buyers since the Budget, with the increase in first-time buyers particularly evident in the North-East, as well as East Anglia, the Midlands and Scotland. Around a quarter had seen asking prices adjusted as a result of the new pounds 120,000 minimum threshold.

Adding further weight to the scales tipping the market in the favour of buyers, NAEA statistics show that the number of houses on the market has almost doubled over the past year, whilst the average number of buyers on the books of estate agents has dropped by 20pc, reducing the ratio of buyers to houses to 5. …

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