Sellers have just an 8% chance of finding a buyer this summer

Mid-way through the year and all the talk is of more homes coming onto the market with just a handful of often cash buyers taking their pick of the growing selection of over-priced property. But what are the actual numbers? If we’re told the supply of new properties is up 45% does this mean the country is covered by a forest of For Sale boards? If all the buyers formed an orderly queue outside an estate agents office in Marble Arch, how far would it stretch?

We need to start by re-defining the ‘norm’. Today there are about 900,000 individual homes for sale in the UK. Over the past seven years on average about 5,400 properties came onto the market every day. Counting these listing is not an exact science since inventories include properties being re-marketed by a new agent.
Put your home on the market and it will usually be one of about a million trying to find a buyer. The sobering fact is that in the first month on the market only 10% of all the homes for sale find a match.

On the other side of the coin in an average month there are about 2 million people looking for a new home. Unique visitors to property portals, phone calls to estate agents and newspaper and magazine readership all helps to corroborate this number but I accept it is no more than an educated guess. The point is that as you will see the vast majority are just tyre kickers! Typically across the whole country only 3,600 homes sell each day.

Today it’s even worse. On current rates just 77,000 will have sold at the end of the first month’s marketing. Just 2,533 homes sold every day in June according to HMRC figures published today. That’s 18% more than did in June last year but it means the chance of finding a buyer during a month of marketing is now only 8%.

During the same month the number of properties coming onto the market increased to 4,574 per day a whopping 45% more than the same month last year!

So, there are 900,000 homes on the market today. Over the next year 1.7m more will come on (based on June’s numbers) making a total of 2.6m homes that will be marketed over the next 12 months. Of these just 925,000 or 35% will find a buyer.

The moral of this story is harsh but simple – as indeed it was in South Africa and Wimbledon too. More people lose than win. Those that win are better prepared and are not necessarily those who make the most noise.

Oh and that queue of potential buyers outside the agent office in Belgravia would stretch 1000 miles, all the way to Rome.