Desperately Seeking...A Place to Call Home
5 March 2018
We like house-hunting (lucky that!) but it seems that would be house-buyers are taking longer and longer to find “the one”. It is not uncommon for house-hunters to see dozens of properties over a long period of time which is both time consuming and stressful especially with young children in tow. Weekends are being dominated by getting in the car to view houses that look good on paper but often don’t live up to expectations.
The reason that it is taking longer to find your dream home is simple…the supply of homes on the market has dramatically fallen. Hamptons International released figures showing that in January 2013 the number of properties available to buy nationwide was 718,996. Fast forward to January 2018 and the numbers are down to 426,488. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors the number of properties for sale hit a record low last summer and hasn’t recovered since. The picture in the South East is no different to the nationwide shortage of properties for sale. Transaction levels are low, with The National Association of Eastate Agents reporting that its members are listing an average of just 33 properties per branch, the lowest level since December 2002.
The problem is self-perpetuating. Would-be sellers are put off by the lack of properties listed on the property portals and with good reason. There is not much to choose from. Furthermore, transactional costs i.e. stamp duty further deter people from moving.
So what does this mean for buyers? Inevitably prices are held up but there are plenty of downward pressures on prices as well to counter the effect of the shortage of stock. The phrase “There’s just nothing on the market” has become commonplace. The solution? You’ve guessed it…instruct a buying agent! They can source off-market properties which will never be on the internet and will be first to know about new instructions coming to the market.