Landlords could see more business from people who would previously have bought homes, after research found a drop in the number of first-time buyers.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) carried out a monthly survey of its members and found that 19 per cent of registered purchasers were first-time buyers.

Some 43 per cent of the market came from first-time buyers in a survey six months ago.

It is the lowest proportion since December 2008 when figures stood at 11 per cent.

President of the NAEA Gary Smith said that the association had warned the government that the decline would happen after stamp duty regulations changed.

"Any tax holidays result in a distortion in the market and, in the case of stamp duty, needed to be carefully managed and phased out rather than falling off a cliff,"he said.

Mr Smith added that the market is more stable now than it was last year but pressure must be put on lenders to ensure it stays that way.

The government changed stamp duty thresholds in September 2008 so that if a property cost above £175,000 buyers pay between one and four per cent of the whole purchase price.

Written by Mark GarnerADNFCR-2002-ID-19520466-ADNFCR

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