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First-time buyers drive UK housing sales in March

The number of house hunters increases to its highest level in five months.

The UK housing market improved during February and March, as first-time buyers continued to capitalise on the stamp duty holiday (which ended on 24 March) for properties under £250,000, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The number of house hunters increased to its highest level in five months, with an average of 297 registering, and sales to first-time buyers increased from an average of 23 per cent of the overall market share in February to 24 per cent in March.

But housing supply levels fell from 63 per branch in February to 61 per branch in March. Sales agreed per branch was unchanged, with an average of seven in both February and March.

Patrick Bullick, regional executive for London at NAEA, said: “The spring sales market kicked off with a bang across the London region with turnover in many areas having greatly increased on the last quarter.”

David Mackie, regional executive for Scotland at NAEA, said: “It was very much an improving picture across the Scottish region during March, with agents reporting a rise in new instructions, a significant increase in the number of viewers and a return to closing dates in certain styles of property.”

According to Mackie, sellers are now more realistic with expectations and prices appear to be stable. “Although there is not great momentum in the market place yet, there is certainly an increase in confidence,” he said.