U.K. demand for houses fell for a third month in June as waning consumer confidence and difficulties in getting a mortgage kept potential homebuyers off the market, the National Association of Estate Agents said.
The number of potential buyers registered with real estate agents fell to 263 in June from 275 the previous month, the Warwick, England-based association said in an e-mailed report today. The average number of properties available per agency rose to 74, the most since April 2009, from 68.
“Lack of mortgage availability is still proving a major barrier to home ownership in addition to wider economic factors such as struggling consumer confidence,” the association said.
While the Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low this month to support a faltering recovery, banks approved fewer mortgages than economists forecast in May, underlining the fragility of the housing market. Britons’ confidence has fallen as oil-driven inflation erodes incomes and the government cuts spending to reduce the budget deficit.
The percentage of first-time buyers fell to 20 in June from 24 in May as banks demanded large cash deposits, deterring buyers, the report showed.
“Confidence in the market is fragile,” Richard Horner, an NAEA executive for the north of England, said in a statement. “Job insecurity is also destabilizing market conditions.”
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