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Slump in first-time buyers market

Friday December 18th 2009

Research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has shown the proportion of first-time buyers purchasing property dropped to its lowest level for a year last month.

Figures showed just 19% of properties sold went to first-time buyers in November, which is the lowest level since December 2008 - when only 11% of agreed sales were sold to this group.

The number was also less than half the recent peak reached in May, when first-time buyers were responsible for 45% of agreed sales.

The group partly blamed the decline on the imminent end of the Government's stamp duty holiday on properties costing up to £175,000, and warned that first-time buyer numbers were likely to fall further in the future.

The threshold at which the tax kicks in is due to revert to homes costing £125,000 at the end of 2009.

Gary Smith, president of the NAEA, said: "The decline in the first-time buyer segment is exactly what the NAEA anticipated and warned the Government about some months ago.

He said: "Any tax holidays result in a distortion in the market and in the case of stamp duty needed to be carefully managed and phased out rather than falling of a cliff. Unfortunately as first-time buyers often form the foundation of selling chains, there could be repercussion throughout the sector."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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