Property drought leaves each estate agency with just 12 houses to sell

·2 min read
Weymouth is a seaside town located in Dorset, United Kingdom. - Andrea Pucci
Weymouth is a seaside town located in Dorset, United Kingdom. - Andrea Pucci

The average estate agent branch has just 12 properties for sale amid a national drought of properties being put up for sale.

Competition for homes has doubled in the last year, hitting unprecedented levels, as demand from buyers has far outstripped the number of available properties for sale.

This has led to record prices, with some regions rising at “unsustainable” rates, Rightmove warned.

There were just 12 properties available for sale per estate agency branch, Rightmove found. 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.

The analysis comes after city dwellers moved en masse to more rural areas during the pandemic. The rise of working from home meant being within commuting distance of the capital or other big cities was less important for buyers.

House prices are up more than 10pc over the last year in the areas with the biggest shortages, including the East Midlands, the South West and the South East of England. The average price tag for first-time buyers rose to an all-time high of £214,176, up 1.4pc in the last month. The national average asking price has jumped 7.6pc over the last year, to £342,019.

Boxing day rush

One home in North Birmingham received 95 viewing requests within 72 hours of the property being placed on the market, according to James Humphries-Stone, of estate agents The Avenue. “Demand is still immense and I cannot foresee a significant change to rising house prices while interest rates remain as low as they are,” he said.

However, a record number of homeowners put their properties on the market on Boxing Day, suggesting supply may begin to return in 2022, Rightmove said.

The number of property valuation requests increased by 44pc in the first working week of the year, compared with 2021, marking the busiest ever opening to a year.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said house prices would continue to rise until more choice became available on the market. “The speed at which we’ve seen the fresh choice that has come to market being snapped up by eager buyers over the past 18 months is a reminder to buyers to move fast,” he said.

Nearly 40pc of people looking to move with a property to sell said they had yet to put it on the market.

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