Property news roundup: Younger buyers being squeezed out of the housing market

Plus divorce and moving, clean sells, three for one, and tenancy confusion

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The Independent Online

Homebuyers under the age of 30 are becoming an endangered species, according to a report from the National Association of Estate Agents

Its latest monthly research shows that 94 per cent of successful homebuyers in the last month were aged over 30.

The figures also suggest that first time buyers are up, with 28 per cent of all completed sales last month to firsttimers, up from 25 per cent in March.

NAEA members recorded 392 registered house hunters per branch in April, a 20 per cent increase compared to March of this year. The association estimates that there are now almost nine registered house hunters for every property available.

In April, the majority of househunters were looking to buy as a couple (89 per cent), with just under one in ten looking to buy on their own. Nearly three quarters of all buyers were looking to move to a property within their current area.

"Buyer demand typically increases in spring," said Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents, "but we are seeing a remarkable number of househunters registering with our member agents this month. The last time we saw this level of market demand was pre-crash, back in August 2006.

"While sales to first time buyers remain strong, fiercely competitive micro-markets in areas mean that many younger buyers simply still cannot afford to get on to the housing ladder. I suspect the phenomenon of older first time buyers will continue as the effects of the recession on younger people’s employment opportunities, plus higher student debts, take their toll."

Divorce a declining reason for moving house

Figures released by Quick Move Now suggest that divorce as a motivating factor behind home sales has dropped seven per cent since 2011, after peaking at 16 per cent in 2011.

"It’s a sad reality that divorce and recession are closely linked," said Donna Houguez, Market Analyst at Quick Move Now. "Financial worries can place a serious strain on a marriage and often a couple’s home has to be sold quickly when the marriage ends. These figures show that trend, with more than twice as many homesellers citing break-up as a reason to move house. And sadly these figures are still 50% above the pre-crash levels."

Clean sell

A study of 2,000 British adults for cleaning service Molly Maid shows(unsurprisingly) that two thirds of people surveyed were more likely to make an offer on a property that looked clean and tidy in its advertising images and during viewings.

However, more than one in five Britons admitted that they didn’t clean their property at all before they moved out...

Russell Jervis, managing director of haart estate agents, said: "First impressions count,including when agents call in to make a valuation. Your home will attract a higher price, possibly many thousands of pounds more, if we can see it is in really good order. We can't assume you'll make the time later to fix things up."

Three for one

The lovely Stowe Farm Cottage is technically a one bedroom property in the tranquil hamlet of Stowe, Knighton, Shropshire, and features include an atmospheric Inglenook stone fireplace with bread oven, exposed ceiling timbers, and charming garden with stone walls. But in the garden are also two wooden chalets

Within the garden are two timber chalets - the first is ideal for use as an extra bedroom or home office (and has marvellous hill views) and the second has a custom made built-in timber frame double bed.

Offers in region of £230,000, on with Nock Deighton

Renters still confused over tenancy deposit schemes 

Just over half of tenants polled by say they have never checked to see if landlords are holding their deposits in mandatory, government-backed tenancy deposit schemes.

Only a quarter know their landlords are definitely holding their deposits in a scheme and almost a fifth of tenants admit they’ve never even heard of the tenancy deposit scheme.

More than one in eight  tenants told SpareRoom they have submitted dispute claims through the scheme, with nearly half winning their claim.

"It's easy to see why tenants who've been burnt in the past see deposits as rent top ups," said Matt Hutchinson, director of "You hear horror stories about the excuses landlords have found to withhold deposits when tenants move on, but there are two sides to every story.

"The rogue element of the landlord community is far smaller than most people think. The wider problem is a private rented sector dominated by amateur and accidental landlords, who don’t always know their responsibilities. But the tenancy deposit protection scheme has certainly helped establish more trust, ensuring landlords cannot profit from deposits as an additional source of income, and mediating when disputes arise.

"The rules are that landlords offering assured shorthold tenancies are now legally obliged to put their tenants' deposits into one of the government-backed schemes, and provide details of that scheme to the tenant within 30 days. It's in tenants' best interests to check this has been done."