A London Estate Agent has warned the UK property industry that buyers are becoming frustrated due to a continuing lack of stock for sale.
New data released by the company showed that in January, there were 25% fewer homes sold compared to a year ago, and a 6% drop in the number of new properties coming to the market.
Despite this, the agent believes that many buyers are holding their nerve, with the overall number of viewings that they carried out was 1.5% higher than in January 2022.
Matt Thompson, head of sales at the agency, said: “With fewer properties coming onto the market at the moment, we are sensing a degree of ‘buyer frustration’ starting to build, especially amongst those who are keen to move as soon as possible for personal or financial reasons.
"There are also a substantial number of buyers hoping to get ahead of the market and beat the rush by getting out on viewings and making offers now, before the market gets more competitive later this year.”
More specifically, the lack of housing stock is preventing younger homeowners from getting on, and climbing the property ladder, according to a West Midlands estate agent.
The average first time buyer previously bought their first property at the age of 32, however recent figures from First Direct has shown that this is quickly raising to 40 years old, already sitting at 37 at the beginning of February 2023.
The agency commented: “Despite this, the delivery of FTB-suitable homes reaching the market seems to be the primary focus where housing delivery is concerned.
“Since 2021, there has been a 17.6% increase in flat stock levels, now accounting for 23% of total housing stock — the third largest of all property types.”
Terraced homes specifically seem to be popular with first-time buyers. These types of properties have seen a 1.9% increase in stock but account for the largest proportion of total stock at 27%.
Managing director James Forrester says: “Buyers at all levels of the market will have a variety of needs and preferences that dictate the type of house they want to purchase, but generally speaking, we’ve seen a greater emphasis on the delivery of suitable homes for FTBs in recent years, while the rest of the market has been somewhat neglected.
“This is despite the fact that FTBs make up the smallest proportion of buyers compared to those climbing further up the ladder, with second- and third-rung buyers accounting for the largest proportion but contending with a lower level of choice when it comes to the stock available.
“What’s most apparent is the out-of-kilter nature of the market when it comes to the growing number of those in their later years versus the level of suitable downsizing accommodation available to them.
“Of course, it’s not as clear cut as assuming that every downsizer will want to opt for a bungalow, but they are extremely popular as they offer the space and independence associated with a house but on a more accessible, manageable level.
“But despite a 15.6% increase in those over the age of 65, the number of bungalows available has actually dropped quite notably. So, what we currently have is an excess of FTB homes, while an ageing population are struggling to climb further up the ladder.
“If we want to encourage downsizers, in particular, to move on and free up larger homes for growing families, they not only have to be encouraged, but we need to have the right housing available for them to do so.”