Property supply cools in October

by Jonny Stevens on 11th November 2018

New property listings in October fell by 5.5% across the UK, and by 6.8% in London, as recent house price falls, particularly in the South East and London, may have dissuaded homeowners from putting their homes on the market.

According to the latest Property Supply Index, which analyses the number of new properties listed each month by estate agents across 100 major UK towns and cities, the number of new properties being listed fell from 72,593 in September to 68,598 in October.

The Autumn rush to move before Christmas hasn’t materialised, as new seller numbers dropped last month. October normally sees a boost in supply coming to the market, but new stock levels were down in more than half (59.7%) of the 100 towns and cities analysed. St Helens in the North West saw the largest decline in property supply, with new listings last month down by more than a third (-33.8%) on September figures.

The following table shows the ten UK towns and cities which saw the biggest drop off in new sellers in October versus September:

Town/City

Region

% decrease in new listings in October vs September

St Helens

North West

-33.8%

Salford

North West

-28.0%

Ipswich

East

-25.6%

Salisbury

South West

-25.4%

Truro

South

-24.5%

Durham

North East

-24.2%

Winchester

South

-23.6%

Poole

South

-23.1%

Stevenage

South East

-22.4%

Worthing

South East

-21.8%

The following table shows the five UK towns and cities which saw the largest increase in new sellers in October versus September:

Town/City

Region

% increase in new listings in October vs September

King’s Lynn

East

45.3%

Lichfield

West Midlands

38.6%

Chichester

South East

32.6%

Bath

South West

26.9%

Taunton

South West

24.5%

London

Listings in London fell by 6.8% in October versus September. Richmond upon Thames experienced the greatest drop in supply levels with nearly a fifth less properties listed in October. Hammersmith & Fulham saw new property listings fall by 15.1%, and Camden similarly saw listings fall by 14.7%.

Only five London boroughs saw an increase in property listings in October in comparison to September. Barnet saw the greatest increase in property listings, with 10.1% more properties coming on the market in October. Bexley and Southwark both saw a 5.6% rise in properties listed in their subsequent boroughs across the month.

The following table shows the five London boroughs which saw the biggest drops in the number of new sellers listing in October vs September:

London Borough

% drop in new listings in October vs September

Richmond upon Thames

-19.8%

Hammersmith & Fulham

-15.1%

Camden

-14.7%

Harrow

-14.1%

Wandsworth

-13.5%

Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple.com, comments: “After supply picked up in September, we were hoping this would lead to healthy new stock levels up to Christmas. But the resurgence in listings was rather short-lived as new supply fell again in October, albeit just below 70,000. This can hardly be considered a collapse, but stock levels have been bouncing along at the bottom of the barrel for some time now, and no-one seems to know how to boost supply.

“Building new homes will help in the longer term, and the government has set lofty house building targets, but we need more available stock now, not in three to five years. The Chancellor could have helped stimulate the market in his latest Budget by cutting stamp duty for older downsizers, to boost stock at the top end of the market, but he chose instead to hit landlords.

“The immediate issue is that a combination of interest rate rises, Brexit fears, and a barrage of negative news surrounding house prices, has spooked homeowners. With house prices falling in a number of areas, most notably London and the South East, homeowners are choosing to wait and see what happens next before making the decision to move. And for many families who are being squeezed financially, while they might have equity in their homes, they may not have the liquid funds to cover buying and moving costs such as stamp duty and solicitor fees.

“But it’s not all doom and gloom, and people do still need to move for a multitude of reasons. Life has to go on, and anyone who is committed to moving shouldn’t let the economic and market conditions dictate their decision making.

“Most people buy a house as a home and plan to live there for many years, rather than speculating and hoping to make a profit. The past 20 years, prices growth has been extraordinary, and a lot of homeowners have a decent level of equity in their homes. If moving at the moment means you make slightly less on your property than you might have 12 months ago, it will be worth it if you see a house you could live in for the next 10-20 years. And it’s worth remembering, if your property has fallen in value, then it’s likely the one you’re hoping to buy has too, which will compensate you for accepting a lower price than you would like.”

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