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Record low number of UK sale listings



Record low number of UK sale listings

UK housing listings have hit a new record low, as new instructions continue to fall, according to new figures from RICS.

The shortage of supply is helping to hold up prices, although they are falling in London, according to the March 2017: UK Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

On average, there are just 43 properties per agency, the lowest since the RICS started collecting data in 1978.

And respondents expect only a modest improvement as the year wears on, with 12 month sales projections being trimmed in the latest report.

Neil Foster, from Foster Maddison Property Consultants, Newcastle Upon Tyne, says, “Profligate overvaluing by agents is creating a chasm between asking price and sale price achieved. This leads to over expectation by vendors and reluctance to engage from buyers. Given the hitherto healthy transaction rate this is quite alarming.”

John Andrews, of Bewdley, Doolittle & Dalley, in the West Midlands, says:

“A shortage of stock resulting in frustration for prospective buyers as demand is still increasing. The shortage of stock is resulting in price rises.”

Stock levels on estate agents’ books have subsequently dipped to fresh record lows, with branches now holding only 43 unsold properties, with flat demand and a prominent lack of supply continuing to weigh on sales activity.

As such, transaction volumes have failed to rise across the UK as a whole in each of the last four surveys. That said, sales did rise relatively firmly in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland according to the latest feedback.

Meanwhile, the average time taken to finalise a transaction (from listing to completion) held steady over the month, at 17 weeks.

On the development side of the industry, property developers are sceptical of the government’s target to build one million homes by 2020 with just one in five (21%) believing this target to be realistic.

Releasing more publicly owned brownfield land for development is the biggest opportunity arising from the Housing White Paper, according to new research by Amicus Property Finance.

UK house prices: What are the most and least affordable regions?

Over two-thirds (69%) of developers think increasing the availability of brownfield sites will offer the most potential for developers. The proposed reduction in the time permitted by local authorities to approve planning applications from three to two years (49%), continuation of the Help to Buy scheme (45%) and increasing the focus on building homes in the affordable sector (41%) were the second, third and fourth most popular measures respectively.

Amicus’ research revealed a number of additional policies property developers would like to see the government introducing in order to address the housing crisis: more than three-quarters (78%) called for a repeal of the stamp duty rises and tax relief reductions on landlords; more than two in five (44%) would like to see incentives for elderly people to downsize and free up family homes; four in ten (41%) think stamp duty should become a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax and 37% recommended a suspension in capital gains tax to encourage more land to come to the market.

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