East Anglia: Housing market buoyed by new buyers

MORE first time buyers are entering the property market in East Anglia than any other part of the country, according to independent analysts.

A monthly housing market survey showed an above national average rise in people taking their first steps on the property ladder during March.

Meanwhile, the Hometrack study found the region performed almost as well as Greater London in terms of final sale price in relation to asking price - despite it taking twice as long for sales to be agreed.

Property sales increased at a higher rate than listings during March, suggesting homes that had previously proven difficult to sell are changing hands and pointing to a “continued firming in prices” in the next few months as demand increases and supply slows.

Analysts, who polled 1,500 agents and surveyors, believe the 11.7% surge in first time buyers could be down to the two-year suspension of stamp duty on property less the �250,000 expiring on March 24. The deadline may also have pushed up demand in East Anglia, where prices rose 0.1%.


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However, the length of time it took to sell a property averaged 11.2 weeks - 10 days longer than the national figure, and longer than any other part of Southern England.

The proportion of the asking price being achieved for sellers increased above the national average, and almost fell in line with Greater London, to 93.6%

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Richard Donnell Director of Research at Hometrack, said: “Looking at trends over the first quarter of the year it is clear that a strong seasonal uplift in demand has put upward pressure on prices against a backdrop of low sales volumes and a lack of housing for sale.

“Agents entered the year with relatively low levels of housing to sell, particularly in the south of the country, and the surge in demand over February has resulted in a strong uplift in sales volumes. This is in part seasonal but also reflects increased activity in advance of the ending of the recent first time buyer stamp duty holiday.

“Looking ahead to the rest of the year all the evidence points to a continued firming in prices in the next few months as demand increases and supply remains suppressed. The trends in the housing market appear at odds with the wider economic outlook where questions remain over future growth and the impact of the recent Budget on household incomes.”

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