Figures reveal estate agencies are facing a severe shortage of properties

Estate agencies are facing a severe shortage of properties as latest figures show the number of homes for sale per branch has shrunk by 40 per cent since January.

By Sarah Freeman
Monday, 9th August 2021, 7:42 am

On average, estate agency branches had around 23 properties for sale in June, marking a 40 per cent decrease compared with January 2021, Propertymark, an association representing estate agents across the UK, said.

While demand remains high, with an average of around 19 potential buyers for every available property on the market, the report added that a pattern of sellers being too nervous to enter the market is reminiscent of trends seen back in 2008.

Propertymark’s chief executive, Nathan Emerson, said: “Sellers are nervous about joining the market and selling quickly with nowhere to go.

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New figures reveal estate agencies are facing a severe shortage of properties

"Firstly, if you are serious about buying in the current market it’s all about being in a position to proceed.

“Very few people can buy without selling, so having a buyer waiting gives you an edge over those you may be competing with.

“If you wait to find a property before putting your house on the market, the likelihood is the property will already have been sold by the time you secure an offer. It’s also important to

remember that the average time being taken for a sale is around 16 weeks to exchange, that’s four months, and the likelihood of not finding an onward property in that time is very small.”

A combination of the Stamp Duty holiday as well as a shift in lifestyle needs due to the pandemic has led to record-breaking sales and the Propertymark report comes after figures released by Rightmove revealed that while there have been 140,000 more sales agreed than the long-term average, there has also been 85,000 fewer new listings.

There is currently a shortfall of 225,000 properties on the market and the lack of housing stock compared to the appetite of buyers has encouraged a record-breaking hike in property prices.

Propertymark said its members have reported that 40 per cent of properties sold for more than the original asking price during June and the trend is being reflected across Yorkshire.

With fears of a return to the gazumping of the 1980s, exclusive data obtained by The Yorkshire Post in June showed that the average cost of a home in the region’s most expensive districts is now in excess of £350,000.

According to the National Housing Federation, the average property price in the region is now £197,743.

With the average wage just £26,868, many first-time buyers are finding it difficult to get a foot on the property ladder as they struggle to save for a deposit.

There are huge variations in the cost of a home across Yorkshire, with many of the region’s property hotspots out of reach for the vast majority of house-hunters. Barnsley, for example, has the cheapest average property price at £153,881, while homes in the Harrogate district are commanding an average cost of £353,121.

Propertymark’s president elect, Liana Loporto Browne, added: “The level of buying activity we have experienced is remarkable, especially as we have seen three months of consecutively record-breaking rise in house prices.

While June was definitely the busiest month for sellers across the UK, it’s worth noting that as we return to normality – that is, as covid restrictions are lifted and the stamp duty holiday continues to be phased out – it is likely that the market will once again restore some balance for prospective buyers.”