The number of buyers chasing each property in England hits highest level since 2008 in the first quarter of 2014, research shows.

Some 12 buyers are chasing each new property coming on the market, an increase of over 20% compared to the 9.7 buyers in the first three months in 2013, according to the latest quarterly housing market review from Countrywide.

In London, the figure was much higher with 25 buyers for every new property and the research also shows that 47% of people aged between 20 and 30 live in a city, a number expected to reach 50% by 2018 if current rates of growth continue.

At a time when the population of England is ageing, the average age of residents within the 10 largest cities has fallen since 2001.

The research also shows the success of the government’s Help to Buy schemes. Some 19% of new homes built since April 2013 were sold through the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, with some housing markets seeing half of properties transacted this way.

The Countrywide report found that significant regional variations exist in how and where the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is having the greatest impact. Over the past nine months some 28% of new houses built in the North East sold via Help to Buy Equity Loan compared to just 9% of new houses built in London.

In the first 10 months of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme being introduced, a total of 14,823 new properties have been purchased through the scheme, the majority by first time buyers. A further 4,666 new homes have been reserved. This equates to 19% of all private dwellings built in England being sold through the scheme.

Countrywide has found that more new homes have been bought using the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in areas which have seen the smallest increases in house prices over the past 12 months. House builders in areas of the North East in particular, where house prices remain well below 2007 levels, have relied heavily on the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme to sell houses. In Newcastle nearly half, 49%, of new private homes built in the past nine months have been sold using an equity loan.

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