Stock surge sees buyer's market strengthen further

The balance of power has tilted further towards buyers according to new research which found that a surge in available sales stock is fuelling the shift.

Related topics:  Property,  Sales,  Stock,  Housing Market
Property | Reporter
13th October 2023
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"For sellers, it’s now harder to take advantage of buyer competition to secure a strong price, as well as a quick sale"
- Chris Hodgkinson - House Buyer Bureau

There are more than 31,000 properties listed for sale in the current market than two years ago, which is good news for house hunters, but not such good news for those looking to sell, as they can no longer rely on a plethora of demand to help push up the price they achieve and ensure a swift sale.

The research comes from property purchasing specialist, House Buyer Bureau, which measured changing stock levels up and down mainland England between September 2021 and September 2023.

Over that period underlying conditions have shifted significantly, as 14 consecutive Bank of England base rate rises have made affordability a far tougher task due to the higher cost of mortgages. At the same time, the level of available stock on the market has increased by 4.5% across England, meaning there are now over 30,000 more properties available to buyers.

This means that for those buyers who can overcome the hurdle of mortgage affordability, the power is very much in their hands allowing them to negotiate on price without competition from other buyers leading to a bidding war.

As a result, house prices have been cooling, with Halifax recording the sixth monthly decline in a row just last week.

Small-town life is more accessible

Cornwall in the South West of England has seen the biggest influx of new properties, as there’s a third (33.6%) more stock now on the market than just two years ago.

Not far behind are Lincolnshire and Shropshire, with increases of 30.0% and 28.2% respectively, suggesting there’s more choice if you want to live in some of England’s less populated counties.

Bristol supply is very limited

While stock has increased in most areas of the UK, in Bristol stock has fallen by a dramatic -19.8% in the past two years.

It seems the city is currently awash with unusually high demand, which is putting sellers very much in the driving seat.

London has also seen a slight reduction of stock, by -3.1% from 2021, as well as the surrounding Berkshire, at -4.2%, and Surrey, at -1.8%.

Managing Director of House Buyer Bureau, Chris Hodgkinson, commented: “The housing market is a very different place from two years ago, and that’s reflected by rising stock levels.

“Increasing mortgage rates have kept buyer appetites in check, however, we’ve also seen an influx of stock and this has very much shifted the power away from sellers and into the hands of the nation’s buyers.

“For sellers, it’s now harder to take advantage of buyer competition to secure a strong price, as well as a quick sale.

“It remains to be seen whether more buyers adapt to the higher interest rate environment in the months ahead and return to the table, shifting the scales back in favour of the nation’s sellers.”

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