The latest monthly report from the National Association of Estate Agents makes bleak reading for potential homebuyers.
According to the research, there are 10 buyers for every property listed for sale in Britain, as the supply of homes available has dipped once again.
There was also bad news for first-time buyers. Following a positive period between July and October, where the number of sales to this group increased, purchases made in November fell by 10%.
As a whole, sales were down by 1%. This is typical at this time of year, but the sharp decline in sales to first-time buyers has given estate agents reason to fear the worst.
In the Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne outlined his plans to assist first-time buyers in making it onto the property ladder. However, 53% of NAEA members believe that first-time purchasers will become more and more squeezed out of the market due to the continued lack of affordable housing.
The growing demand for property shows no sign of abating, with 336 house-hunters registered per NAEA branch in October, rising to 403 in November.
What’s more, the report shows that available housing dipped marginally in November, from 43 to 41 properties per branch.
Number of homes for sale in UK falls again
‘It’s very normal at this time of year that demand is high and supply is low,’ noted Mark Hayward, MD of the NAEA. ‘House hunters hoping to find their dream property in the New Year have registered interest with agents, whilst those hoping to sell are holding off putting their properties on the market before January. However, supply is outweighing demand so heavily now that it can’t solely be attributed to seasonality,’ he continued.
He went on to say that, ‘it’s clear that we’re faced with a crisis here and the housing market needs addressing as matter of urgency. Our recent Housing 2025 report compiled with Association of Residential Letting Agents and Centre for Economics and Business Research found that by 2025, house prices are set to rise by 50%-and if we don’t act now, this will impact first time buyers, second steppers and last steppers, forcing many out of home ownership.’
Concluding, Mr Hayward said, ‘the Government has made efforts to address the issue of supply and demand, with Osborne outlining plans to build 200,000 new starter homes in his Autumn Statement, but four fifths of our agents think it simply isn’t enough.’ He believes that, ‘it’s all very well planning to build houses, but we need to move to action and get the bricks and mortar on the ground if we’re to solve the crisis we’re faced with.’