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Stamp duty change spurs small rise in first time activity since late 2014

In the latest of many mixed signals from the housing market, a survey by agents Your Move and Reeds Rains suggests first time buyer volumes increased slightly by 1.1 per cent over the course of 2015.

This means there were around 300 more first time buyers per month by December 2015 than a year earlier.

This is despite a drop in buyers taking their first step onto the ladder in December – the usual festive dip inactivity.

An examination of the year-on-year figures reveals a property market that festive slowdown aside is going from strength to strength. Steady growth over the course of the year indicates a resurgence in first-time buyer confidence says LSL Property Services spokesman Adrian Gill.

He says first time buyers have been buoyed by the reduction of stamp duty on lower-priced properties and other government incentives to buy.

Meanwhile LSL Property Services has reported a solid second half of 2015 in its latest trading statement to the City.

It says its estate agency division income is up five per cent year on year, with lettings income up 12 per cent and financial services showing a 16 per cent rise.

LSL acquired 30 lettings books in 2015 for 9.6m, a significantly higher number of acquisitions than in 2014.

In London the groups Marsh & Parsons brands total revenue was up nine per cent year on year with two new branch openings in Shoreditch and Queen’s Park.

City analysts at Jefferies have given LSL a buy recommendation, citing that it has the ambition to grow its operating profit per branch from 46,000 to between 80,000 and 10.

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