Number of homes for sale falls to lowest level in two years
After two years of year-on-year increases, there were 13% fewer homes on the market to buy in October, November and December compared to the same quarter the previous year, according to the latest Quarterly Property Index from Experian.
“The final few months of the year are generally slower than any other time of the year, but we are also comparing it to a period in 2012 that saw an unusually high number of properties coming onto the market for sale,” said Jonathan Westley, managing director of consumer information services at Experian UK & Ireland.
“If the fall in homes for sale continues and the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme kicks in, then those people hoping to get onto the property ladder will need to be ready to put an offer down as soon as they find the house they love. That means having a mortgage in principle already agreed or they could miss out.”
The biggest fall in properties for sale was led by homes valued between £100,000 and £250,000, down 15% compared to the same period in 2012.
This was followed by homes at the higher end of the price bracket, £250,000 to £500,000 and over £500,000, falling by 12% and 13% respectively.
The number of more affordable homes (priced at less than £100,000) fell by 6%.
Regionally, Yorkshire and Wales witnessed the biggest declines in properties coming onto the market for sale – down 27% and 24% respectively.
The findings follow research out earlier this week, showing that first-time buyers have been “driving the mortgage market forward” in the past year.
The number of loans made to first-time buyers was up by 23% in 2013 compared with 2012, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.