The supply of homes to buy is at its lowest level in 14 years according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
The number of properties available per member branch fell to 33 in January, the lowest recorded since December 2002 when just 25 properties were available per member branch.
In contrast, demand for housing soared in January, with an average 453 house hunters registered per branch – the highest recorded since July 2015 and a 21 per cent increase from December when there were an average 374 registered, during a seasonal lull in activity.
This reflects increased activity from landlords pushing to complete sales ahead of the upcoming stamp duty surcharge coming into effect on April 1. Some 72 per cent of NAEA member agents reported an increase in interest from landlords – a rise from 44 per cent in December.
Almost a third of the total sales made in January were to first time buyers.
“Landlords are trying to complete on sales ahead of the changes to stamp duty on additional homes in April. It continues to be a sellers’ market as demand outstrips supply” explains Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.
“The number of sales made to first time buyers has increased this month, and we should expect to see their market share rise after April. The fact that housing supply has reached a 14 year low really highlights the need for the government to push the house building programme to the very top of the agenda.”