Available housing stock at 11-year low

The number of properties available to buy per estate agent branch fell to an 11-year low this month, according to the National Association of Estate Agents August Housing Market Report.

Supply of available housing fell by a third in the last month, with 38 houses available per branch in August, compared to 55 in July. This is the lowest level of supply seen since January 2004, when 38 properties were also available.

August saw a dip in house hunters, with an average of 408 house-hunters registered per member branch, compared to 462 in July – a 12% drop.

The number of sales completed in August rose by one to an average ten properties per branch in August; however sales made to first time buyers (FTBs) fell to the lowest level since July 2014. One in five sales (20%) were made to FTBs in August, compared to 23% in July and 24% in June, indicating movement in the market is taking place higher up the ladder and it’s second and third steppers pushing through sales.

Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents, said: “We’ve been banging the drum about the dwindling supply of housing for a while and this month’s report reiterates what we’ve been saying – there simply aren’t enough houses to match demand and we’re reaching crisis point. There are now eleven house hunters fighting after every available house which isn’t sustainable. First time buyers are finding themselves being squeezed out of the competition, which of course means it’s taking young buyers longer to get their foot on the first step of the ladder, which will in turn increase pressure on the rental market.”

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