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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Strong buyer demand drives market activity

The property market continued to tick over in September with activity up 5.4% on the same month last year.

There were 106,030 residential property transactions in September, marking a small rise of 0.8% from 105,160 in August, according to the latest HMRC monthly property transaction figures.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said housing transaction activity has since fallen back slightly after a busy start to the summer in July. “This seasonal change is common, and transactions are still 5% higher year-on-year, an encouraging sign that the market is continuing to recover.”

Murphy said buyer demand is holding strong, with many moving quickly to secure a competitive mortgage rate before interest rates rise.

“Borrowers are also benefitting from attractive deals from lenders keen to meet their targets by the end of the year.

“Although house prices have continued to rise, they are doing so at a much steadier pace compared to 2014, helping to improve affordability.”

Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, said: “There was a real step-change in the gears of housing market activity over the summer, and since June property sales have been ticking along nicely, with this month-on-month rise the latest cause for optimism.

“There’s now clear blue water between sales levels now and a year ago and we’re seeing real eagerness from buyers.

“Already, many buyers and sellers will be using the countdown to Christmas as their deadline to move home and complete transactions, meaning activity often picks up the pace in autumn.”

Rollings said that London is now a city of two halves. “At the top-end buyers are more cautious but at the mid and lower range of the market where domestic buyers tend to dominate there remain high levels of demand facing up to restricted housing stock."

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said activity at the bottom of the ladder is allowing the property market overall to gather speed. 

“Fortunes for first time buyers in particular are being boosted by higher wages, lower inflation, and a wave of higher-LTV mortgage product momentum.

“Bearing in mind September’s steady progress, the October housing market also looks set fair.”

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