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Demand for homes outstrips supply

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Homes listed for sale are at very low levels, pushing up house prices as buyer demand remains strong

Buyer demand is firm across the UK market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, but the flow of properties being listed for sale has slowed.

This mismatch between supply and demand is a critical factor in driving up house prices, said the organisation.

Surveyors say they have seen a pick up in new buyer enquiries alongside a rise in newly agreed sales.

They also expect sales to continue to be strong.

Low listings

Respondents to the RICS latest survey said the number of fresh listings on the market is insufficient to match demand. Stocks have fallen in the last few months and dropped again this month.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Property is the new toilet roll. Buyers are clamouring to get their hands on the dwindling number of properties on estate agents’ books. Homes are getting snapped up at a frenetic pace and at ever-higher prices. And surveyors are expecting more of the same this summer.

“They’re reporting a phenomenal month for sales across the country – with average sales per surveyor at their highest for years. However, they’re complaining bitterly about the mismatch between buyers and sellers and the lack of new properties coming to the market. This means on average they have just 40 properties left on their books, and they’re not hanging around.

“House price rises have continued to accelerate, and in the immediate future we can be reasonably confident this will continue.”

Sundeep Patel, director of sales at specialist lender Together, added: “As we begin to hopefully get a view of what life will look like past the peak of the pandemic, and a sense of “normality” returns, more needs to be done to address the shortfall in property supply which continues to push up both house prices and rental fees.

“However, with the Government’s new Planning Bill aiming to spark a surge in regional housebuilding, there may be increased opportunities for hopeful first-time buyers within the next few years.”

Rental sector

In the lettings market, growth in tenant demand accelerated sharply in the three months to April, said the RICS. It added that expectations of rental growth were up as supply of rented properties remain low.