According to the latest housing market report from NAEA, the supply of available housing is at its lowest level in 14 years.
The number of properties available per member branch fell to 33 in January, the lowest recorded since December 2002 when just 25 properties were available per member branch.
In contrast, demand for housing soared in January, with an average 453 house hunters registered per branch – the highest recorded since July 2015 and a 21 per cent increase from December when there were an average 374 registered, during a seasonal lull in activity.
This reflects increased activity from landlords pushing to complete sales ahead of the upcoming buy-to-let (BTL) surcharge coming into effect on April 1st. Just over seven in ten (72 per cent) estate agents reported an increase in interest from landlords – a rise from 44 per cent in December.
First time buyers
Almost a third (29 per cent) of the total sales made in January were to first time buyers (FTBs), an increase of five percentage points from December 2015.
Mark Hayward, managing director of National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), comments: “Our findings this month reflect what we are all seeing across the market which is that landlords are trying to complete on sales ahead of the changes to stamp duty on additional homes in April. It continues to be a sellers’ market as demand outstrips supply.
The number of sales made to FTBs has increased this month, and we should expect to see their market share rise after April. The fact that housing supply has reached a 14 year low really highlights the need for the government to push the house building programme to the very top of their agenda and help more FTBs make their first step on to the housing ladder.”