There are 10 buyers for each property for sale in the UK as the supply of homes on the market has fallen again, reaching crisis level according to estate agents.
At the same time sales to first time buyers fell in November even although the number of house hunters increased, the latest monthly report from the National Association of Estate Agent (NAEA) shows.
After a promising period from July to October in which the number of sales made to first time buyers grew, in November, the percentage of sales made to the group fell by 10%, it also shows.
Sales as a whole were down by 1% and while this is typical of this time of year sales to first time buyers are down dramatically and estate agents believe it will only get worse.
The Chancellor George Osborne outlined plans to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder during his Autumn Statement but over half, 53%, of NAEA members think the group will continue to feel squeezed out of the market, due to the lack of affordable housing.
The lack of supply and growing demand for housing continued to drive the market in to the ground, as the number of house hunters grew by 20% and available stock fell. In October, there were 336 house-hunters on average registered per branch, rising to 403 in November.
The report also points out that available housing decreased marginally in November, from 43 properties managed per branch last month, to 41 this month meaning there are now 10 prospective buyers battling it out for each property.
‘It’s very normal at this time of year that demand is high and supply is low. House hunters hoping to find their dream property in the New Year have registered interest with agents, whilst those hoping to sell are holding off putting their properties on the market before January. However, supply is outweighing demand so heavily now that it can’t solely be attributed to seasonality,’ said Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.
‘It’s clear that we’re faced with a crisis here and the housing market needs addressing as a matter of urgency. Our recent Housing 2025 report compiled with Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that by 2025, house prices are set to rise by 50% - and if we don’t act now, this will impact first time buyers, second steppers and last steppers, forcing many out of home ownership,’ he explained.
‘The Government has made efforts to address the issue of supply and demand, with Osborne outlining plans to build 200,000 new starter homes in his Autumn Statement, but four fifths of our agents think it simply isn’t enough. It’s all very well planning to build houses, but we need to move to action and get and the bricks and mortar on the ground, if we’re to solve the crisis we’re faced with,’ he added.