There were less than 35,000 new properties listed in December across the UK as new stock levels fell by 33.5% compared to November, the data from online estate agents HouseSimple shows.
The research, which examines the number of new properties marketed by estate agents across 100 major towns and cities, reveals that only five locations, including Torquay, Newport and Worthing saw a rise in home sellers last month.
It also shows that 10 saw at least a 50% drop in new property listings in December, led by Newquay and St Helens, both seeing new listings fall by 63.8%, followed by West Bromwich down 61.1% and Sale near Manchester down by 59.3%.
In London 13,430 people put their properties on the market in December, the lowest number of new sellers in any month last year by some margin with a fall of 39.1%. It is the second month in a row that every London borough saw fewer sellers.
The biggest fall in new listings in London was Barnet with a decline of 48.6%, followed by Kensington and Chelsea down by 47.5%, Westminster down 47.2%, Hillingdon down 46.6% and Waltham Forest down 45.4%.
According to Alex Gosling, founder of HouseSimple, there were already signs in November that sellers had decided to hold off. ‘Historically, we do tend to see an uplift in activity in January, and with the stamp duty cut incentivising first time buyers to purchase, this will hopefully act as a stimulus to sellers who have been reluctant to market,’ he said.
‘We expect 2018 to be another challenging year for the property market as the UK’s exit from the European Union draws closer. House price growth is predicted to be flat or at best low single digits, but that should provide encouragement to buyers who have had to battle against rising prices for a number of years,’ he pointed out.
‘For sellers, it’s the same message. There is no point in delaying putting your property on the market if you need or want to move. There are still plenty of buyers out there, and if you’re committed you will sell,’ he added.