There are various estimates of the total number of homes for sale. Estate agents and portals like Rightmove disagree on the total number of unique addresses for sale which I believe to be about 696,000 nationwide. Different numbers exist because the same house being advertised by two different agents is often counted twice and some people count properties that have exchanged contracts. Properties that are “sold subject to contract” are technically still for sale.
The long term average number of new properties added to the market across the UK each month is 174,810.
Last month the number of new properties added to the market was just 48,240
The long term average number of properties sold in the UK each month is 119,000.
Last month the total number of properties sold was just 43,000
Estate agents and bodies like the RiCS have been reporting increased activity in the market this year in what appears to be a triumph of optimism over reality. An increase from one buyer to two can be accurately described as a 100% increase in sales but it is still just two sales!
The winter months often see a reduction in new instructions but January marks a new low in the supply side of the supply:demand ratio. Every month in 2008 represented a 30%+ reduction on the previous year in the number of sales as the Crunch began to bite with the number of sales last month 38.75% down on the same month last year. In January 2007 there were 116,000 sales completed.
In just over a month on April 6th the Government will bring to an end so called “first day marketing” which put an end to the so called ‘grey market’ of homes offered quietly for sale. All properties being marketed will require a full Home Information Pack before they can be offered for sale as opposed to just ordered as is the case now. Despite wide condemnation from across the industry, the exchequer will still raise over £56m in VAT from Hips that nobody uses from homes that never sell.