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House buyers ‘back in the driving seat’ as demand drops by a third and supply rises

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Plummeting competition for homes meant two thirds of sales agreed in November were below asking price.

There are now seven buyers for every new property for sale in estate agency branches, down from a high of 11 buyers, according to Propertymark.

The trade body said buyers are “back in the driving seat” as the number of properties on the market continues to rise.

There were an average of 33 homes for sale per branch in November, a 74% increase since the start of the year.

However, this is still below the pre-pandemic average of 38.

At the same time, demand is falling as the number of buyers per branch dropped to 52 down from an average 86 in August.

Further signs of the faltering market can be seen by viewing as the average number per property fell to 2.6, and typical agreed sales fell to six in November from 10 in September.

Tenant numbers fall in November

In the lettings market, the number of new prospective tenants registering per branch fell in November while properties for rent also increased.

The rise in supply has taken some of the pressure off rents with the number of agents reporting month-on-month prices falling below 50% for the first time since February.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “The sales market is firmly back in the hands of buyers who have been on the back foot for 18 months.

“More property is available but the competition between those looking has cooled substantially. For those motivated to sell, good, solid buyers are still prominent.

“As for lettings, we are starting to seeing a decrease in demand, the knock-on effect is that fewer agents are seeing rent rises.

“It’s possible that prices have peaked, and landlords are well aware that any more rises won’t necessarily be achieved. This is not all good news however, as landlords costs are still rising, leaving many facing a very real possibility of making a loss.”