There are just 12 properties available for sale per estate agency branch, according to all-seeing Rightmove. Buyers have snapped up the few homes on the market with the average time to find a buyer two weeks shorter in Dec 2021 compared with the previous year. Meanwhile TwentiCi told The Times that across the UK there are 400,000 properties for sale, a third down on this time last year, when there were 630,000.
Estate agency lobby group PropertyMark publish a monthly survey of their members. In December they said that the number of buyers registered per member branch had increased to 461 but the supply of available properties continued to fall to just 19 homes per branch – the lowest ever recorded and 42% less than December 2020.
The January RICS survey reported that lack of new listings was fuelling house price inflation. Sales in December were up but supply remained tight.
I have been watching the volume of individual listings published on Rightmove and Zoopla since 2003 and it’s clear that there is something of a drought. If you are struggling to find a new home then it’s probably not you, it’s the lack of stock that is frustrating your search. In some places there are 40% fewer homes for sale which is putting off some potential sellers who are holding back fearing they won’t be able to find somewhere if they themselves sell.
There are a few more homes off-market, not listed on websites or in estate agents windows but they are hard to find and often expensive. Unless supply picks up soon then prices may be pushed up by as much as 10% as those who must buy offer whatever it takes to get their hands on a new home.
The encouraging news is that a record number of homeowners put their properties on the market on Boxing Day, suggesting supply may begin to return in 2022, according to Rightmove. The number of property valuation requests increased by 44% in the first working week of the year, compared with 2021, marking the busiest ever opening to a year.