There was a drop in the number of new listings across the UK last month, suggesting that the usual autumn rush to move before Christmas hasn’t materialised.
New property listings in October fell by 5.5 per cent across the UK as a whole and by 6.8 per cent in London according to online agency HouseSimple.
It says recent house price falls, particularly in the South East and London, may have dissuaded homeowners from putting their homes on the market.
The agency analyses the number of new properties listed each month by estate agents - traditional and online - across 100 major UK towns and cities; under this analysis, new listings fell from 72,593 in September to 68,598 in October.
October normally sees a boost in supply coming to the market, but new stock levels were down in 59 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.
New listings in London fell by 6.8 per cent in October versus September with Richmond upon Thames experienced the greatest drop - nearly a fifth fewer properties listed for the first time in October.
Hammersmith & Fulham saw new stock fall by 15.1 per cent and Camden similarly saw listings fall by 14.7 per cent.
Only five London boroughs saw an increase in property listings in October in comparison to September.
“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” claims Sam Mitchell, HouseSimple’s chief executive.
“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” he continues.
“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.”