The supply of properties for sale has slumped to alarmingly low levels, according to latest figures revealed
The property search engine Home.co.uk has recorded a 51 per cent fall in the number of properties for sale in England and Wales over the last eight years, from 855,585 in April 2008 to just 415,038 in April 2016.
There has also been a 26 per cent decline in the number of properties for sale in April 2010 compared to April this year. In addition, there was a 12 per cent decrease in the total stock of property for sale in April this year compared to the same month last year.
These latest monthly figures found there had been a modest four per cent increase in the number of new properties coming on to the market in April 2016 compared with April 2015. However, this is still 43 per cent down on April 2008’s figure. April 2016’s new properties tally of 110,031 is also seven per cent down on April 2010’s total of 117,803.
A regional breakdown shows that every mainland UK region has seen a marked downturn in the number of new properties coming on to the market when comparing April 2008 with April 2016. This chronic shortage of available housing stock for sale has been a key factor in the continued rise in property prices in recent years.
The government has pledged to support the building of a million new homes across the country by 2020. Of these, ministers want to ensure 200,000 are affordable starter homes for first-time buyers.
Home.co.uk director Doug Shephard said: “The property marketplace is now operating completely differently to how it was back in 2008. The drought has meant prices have headed skywards, but there is so little property passing through the market that large estate agency chains have been issuing profit warnings as they see their turnovers decline.
“Without doubt, the growth of the private rented sector has played a significant part in the supply crisis, as the average home changes hands less frequently than before. Moreover, buy-to-let remains a very popular investment choice in the current economic climate.
“Aside from new build solutions, there are an estimated one million unoccupied properties in the UK. The government needs to work out how to get these back into the marketplace.”