Landlords hurriedly completing deals before the new tax changes take effect in little over one month has contributed to the supply of available UK housing slipping to its lowest level for 14 years.
A report from the National Association of Estate Agents shows investors looking to avoid the extra 3% stamp duty charge on buy-to-let and second homes is seeing already low stock drop still further.
The January Housing Market report indicates that the number of properties available per member fell to 33 during January. This is the lowest level since December 2002, where only 25 properties were available per branch.
On the other hand, demand for housing increased in January, with an average of 453 house hunters registered per branch. This was the highest recorded since July 2015 and a 21% increase from December, where there was a seasonal lull in activity.
In addition, 72% of estate agents reported an increase in interest from buy-to-let landlords. This was up from 44% in December.
29% of all sales made in January were to first-time buyers, up by 5% from December.
Available UK housing at 14 year low
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said, ‘our findings this month reflect what we are seeing across the market which is that landlords are trying to complete on sales ahead of the changes to stamp duty on additional homes in April. It continues to be a sellers’ market as demand outstrips supply.’
‘The number of sales made to first time buyers has increased this month and we should expect to see their market share rise after April. The fact that housing supply has reached a 14 year low really highlights the need for the Government to push the house building programme to the very top of their agenda and help more first time buyers make their first step onto the housing ladder,’ Hayward concluded.