Number of properties coming to market falls by nearly 50% in a decade

The UK property shortage has featured heavily in the national press in the last twelve months, but now research has been released that illustrates just how much the property market has changed in the last decade.

The report, by the National Association of Estate Agents, claims that the number of properties available per member branch fell from 72 in December 2005 to just 37 in December 2015.

We asked Danny Luke, Managing Director of the UK’s largest independent home buyer, why that might be.

“We have undoubtedly seen a drop in the number of properties coming to market, especially in recent months.

“There are several reasons why supply has dropped to such an extent, but one major factor is the culture amongst our aging population.  Improved health and considerable property wealth amongst retired home owners mean that many are choosing to stay in their large family homes for longer – resulting in less family-sized homes being released onto the market.  With less property becoming available at the top end of the market, home owners further down the property ladder are being forced to extend and improve the properties they’re in, rather than moving, and this has a knock-on effect, further reducing the number of properties becoming available throughout the whole of the market.

“Rising property prices are also prohibitive to home owners moving, and are a major consequence of the shortage of property.  Greater demand and stronger competition for each house result in higher property prices.  Those who are unable to buy a property of their own create a stronger demand for rental property, which means owner-occupiers and buy-to-let investors are competing for the same properties, and there simply isn’t enough housing to go around.

“A property shortage becomes a cycle.  A shortage of property to move to means less home owners consider moving and the whole industry starts grinding to a halt.

“If we want to get the property market moving again, the UK desperately needs an influx of high-quality, attractive and desirable property at all levels of the market; from affordable starter homes and spacious family properties, right up to the top end of the market and desirable properties that retired home owners would be pleased to downsize to.  UK homeowners will not consider moving unless they feel there’s something better and more suitable to move to, and that’s the property industry’s real challenge.”

Danny Luke is Managing Director of Quick Move Now.

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