Available homes per estate agent hits all-time low

The number of properties on offer per estate agent branch hit an all-time low of 21 in October, according to Propertymark.

This figure fell from 23 homes per branch in September, and is a 46 per cent drop compared to a year ago, says the estate agent body’s October Housing Report. It labels this October’s number as “the lowest figure on record”.

However, the survey highlights that “demand continues to climb” among house hunters, with the average number of buyers registered at branches standing at 511, a 12% rise from September and a 13% uplift on 12 months ago.

It reported that sales activity slowed in October but remained steady, with an average of 8 sales agreed per branch, falling from 11 per branch in September.

But despite the imbalance between buyers and sellers, the data found that 55% of properties agreed to sell at the original asking price.

It says: “Interestingly, despite demand, for the second consecutive month the number of sales being agreed at over asking price has fallen.

“Properties agreeing sales at over the asking price has dropped to 21% in October from 27% in September.”

The number of first-time buyers remained steady at 25% in October, falling slightly from 28% the month before.

The amount of buy-to-let sales lifted to 13%, from 9% in September.

The report adds: “The number of buyers entering the market is relentless and with the level of first-time buyers remaining steady and buy to let investor sales on the increase there is currently an average of 24 buyers per available home on the market.”

Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “Figures from October show a continuing picture for the housing market which is unsustainable.

“Estate agents across the country are working with some of the lowest levels of available homes we have ever seen yet demand from buyers is not easing.

“Heading into the festive period should take some of the heat out of the market as we know that usual market trends see a decrease in activity as people turn their attention to Christmas.

“However, with so many buyers still hungry for their new home, sellers would do well not to put moving plans on hold for too long.

“What we need to see in the new year is a gentle levelling out, which could be driven by new year motivations delivering new sellers or changing interest rates taking some of the mounting energy from buyers.”

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