First-time buyer numbers hit a 12-year high
Numbers of people buying their first home reached a monthly high in August, achieving a level not seen since 2007, before the financial crisis.
The average first-time purchaser borrowed £175,361 or around 80% of the property value. The amount borrowed equates to a multiple of 3.52 of first-time buyers’ income, but with continuing low-interest rates, this only represents 17.1% of total household income.
These strong figures for first-time buyers are backed by research from Zoopla which shows that over a third (36%) of all property purchases in 2018 were by first-time buyers. Reasons given include Stamp Duty relief, the Help to Buy scheme and Help to Buy ISA.
Mortgage broker outlook is confident
According to the latest Mortgage Market Tracker survey from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), 91% of brokers said they were either ‘very confident’ or ‘fairly confident’ about the outlook for the mortgage industry.
Executive Director of the IMLA, Kate Davis, said: “Continuing political uncertainty has failed to dent the confidence of mortgage brokers. Intermediaries remain confident that they are well-placed to weather the storm of political uncertainty. Brokers are upbeat about the prospects for Britain’s mortgage market.”
Postcode lottery in estate agents’ fees
New research from Get Agent, the online estate agent comparison site, has found that selling your home through a high street estate agent can vary by as much as 261%, depending on your postcode.
The research analysed data from over 40,000 branches, listing properties in more than 2,400 postcode areas and found that the average fee (including VAT) in England and Wales was 1.53% and was as high as 3.07% in the most expensive areas. Postcode CT11 in Ramsgate, Kent was the most expensive, equating to a fee of £7,425, based on the average listing price of £241,849 in that area. At the other end of the scale, sellers in Benthall, Northumberland, which is postcode NE67, are typically charged 0.85%, which equates to £2,771 for an average property worth £326,000 listed in that area.
Since October 2016, all estate agents’ quotes should include VAT. Before this date, fees were quoted ‘plus VAT’.