Property Drought Reaches Crisis Point

The Supply of Properties for Sale Has Slumped to Alarmingly Low Levels, According to Latest Figures Revealed by Home.co.uk

The property search engine has recorded a 51% fall in the number of properties for sale in England and Wales over the last eight years, from 855,585 in April 2008 to just 415,038 in April 2016.

There has also been a 26% decline in the number of properties for sale in April 2010 compared to April this year. In addition, there was a 12% decrease in the total stock of property for sale in April this year compared to the same month last year.

Total Stock of Property for Sale in England and Wales (April 2007 to April 2016)

Further Home.co.uk figures looking at new properties coming on to the market each month offered only a small crumb of comfort that the situation may improve.

These latest monthly figures found there had been a modest 4% increase in the number of new properties coming on to the market in April 2016 compared with April 2015. However, this is still 43% down on April 2008's new monthly listings figures.

April 2016's new properties tally of 110,031 is also 7% down on April 2010's figure of 117,803.

A regional breakdown of the figures shows that every mainland UK region has seen a marked downturn in the number of new properties coming on to the market when comparing April 2008 with April 2016.

In the East Midlands, South West and West Midlands, there was also a dip in supply of new properties between April 2016 and the same month last year, while two areas, the North East and North West, recorded no change at all in supply when comparing April 2015 and April 2016's figures.

Greater London saw a sharp spike of 22% in supply of new listings when comparing April 2015 and April 2016's figures but this is still 53% down on April 2008 and 8% down on April 2010's figures. This shows that despite the recent surge in new listings in the capital, its overheated market is still in dire need of more properties.

There was a small increase in new properties coming on to the market between April 2015 and April 2016 in the South East, but this affluent area still has a chronic supply problem. An eight-year comparison in this region reveals a 44% dip in the number of new properties for sale in April 2008 and in April 2016.

Elsewhere, Scotland's new monthly property tally in April 2016 was 36% down on figures for April 2008 and in Wales the figures were down by the same proportion.

The East of England and Yorkshire and The Humber saw 3% growth in new properties for sale in April 2016 compared with April 2015. However, an eight-year comparison reveals the supply of new properties is also down, by 53% and 38% respectively, in these two regions.

Change in Supply of Property For Sale (April 2008 to April 2016)

This chronic shortage of available housing stock for sale has been a key factor in the continued rise in property prices in recent years.

Home.co.uk's latest Asking Price Index revealed there were price rises in all parts of the UK in May, with the mix-adjusted average asking price for England and Wales jumping 0.8% since April.

The lack of affordable housing in London, where according to Home.co.uk's Asking Price Index there has been a 9.5% increase in the average asking price between May 2015 and May 2016, has been a particular problem for prospective homeowners. Last month, new London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the proportion of affordable housing being built in the capital to be quadrupled.

The government has pledged to support the building of 1 million new homes across the country by 2020. Of these, ministers want to ensure 200,000 are affordable starter homes for first-time buyers.

Home.co.uk director Doug Shephard said: "The property marketplace is now operating completely differently to how it was back in 2008. The drought has meant prices have headed skywards, but there is so little property passing through the market that large estate agency chains have been issuing profit warnings as they see their turnovers decline.

"Without doubt, the growth of the private rented sector has played a significant part in the supply crisis, as the average home changes hands less frequently than before. Moreover, buy-to-let remains a very popular investment choice in the current economic climate.

"Aside from new build solutions, there are an estimated 1 million unoccupied properties in the UK. The government needs to work out how to get these back into the marketplace."

Source: The Home.co.uk Asking Price Index

Notes for Editors

Over the last 28 years, Home.co.uk has become established as a dynamic, innovative and ethical service. By providing the UK's most comprehensive Property Search and Estate Agents directory coupled with detailed House Price analysis, Home.co.uk delivers the real power of the Internet to inform and empower estate agents, homebuyers, renters, landlords and sellers in across the UK.

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