UK housing supply fell to an 11-year low last month, resulting in an average of 11 potential buyers biding for each available residential property, a report by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) revealed yesterday.
An average of only 38 houses were registered for sale per real estate agency branch in August, down from 55 in July, reaching the lowest level since January 2004.
While the number of completed sales rose from 9 to 10 properties per branch, the number of house hunters dipped 12 percent to 408 per branch, NAEA said.
Significantly, sales to first-time buyers were only 20 percent of the total, compared with 23 percent in July, indicating that the market is moving higher up the ladder.
“There simply aren’t enough houses to match demand, and we’re reaching crisis point,” NAEA managing director Mark Hayward said. “There are now 11 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.”
Meanwhile, data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed earlier this week that seasonally-adjusted home sales reached 106,480 in August, the highest in 18 months and the third month in a row to see more than 100,000 sales.
At the same time, the average UK house price reached an all-time high of £294,834 in September, according to online real estate agent Rightmove.
“High demand, lack of suitable supply, and increasingly stretched affordability are leading to some extremes in market forces in different sectors and parts of the country,” said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove.