The number of people looking to buy a home has reached its highest level in 11 years, the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents have shown.
The association’s Housing Market Report for June found that 439 prospective buyers were registered on average per NAEA member branch.
That represents a 15% increase onMay when 383 house hunters were registered per branch. However, there is still some way to go to reach the 582 recorded in August 2004.
Despite a big jump in demand, supply of housing stock fell marginally from 46 in May to 44 houses available per branch in June, widening the growing gap between supply and demand.
Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents, said: “What we’re seeing is a market that lulled over the General Election period, coming back to life in full force.
“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.”
As the gap between supply and demand widened in May, activity remained consistent, with nine sales made on average per branch for the second month running.
However, the number of sales made to first-time buyers declined in June, with the group accounting for 24% of sales, compared to 29% in May.
Hayward said: “Although activity is still slow, it’s very promising to see that the surge in demand and dip in supply hasn’t caused activity to halt, and houses are still being sold.
“However, 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.”